It is officially fall, and I’m celebrating with this autumn harvest salad.
Fall is my absolute favorite season. It’s the time that I always find myself wanting to be in the kitchen, not that that’s too different from the rest of the year…
There’s so much great produce to look forward to and so many cozy dishes to make. I am all about cozy, comforting things over here, so a night in with a big bowl of something warm and a few fall candles burning sounds just about perfect to me.
If you guys can relate and absolutely love this special season, then you are going to love this salad. It’s kind of perfect for right now, at least in Chicago, because we are having a serious September heat wave. I’m kind of hating it because I am just so ready for golden leaves, big comfy sweaters, and crisp autumn air. But anyways, since it’s been pretty warm, yet fall produce is still popping up everywhere, I decided an autumn harvest salad would be the perfect thing to make.
It’s crisp and refreshing, with lots of juicy figs and tangy apples, yet hearty and comforting. I’m talking big crumbles of sharp cheddar cheese and really intensely charred grilled chicken, plus some candied pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts. So, this is basically just loaded with fall flavor. And the best part? The vinaigrette! It’s got sweet, tart pomegranate juice and my absolute favorite fall herb: sage.
I think sage makes everything taste like fall…so you’ll absolutely be seeing a lot of it around here, probably all the way into winter, too.
So, even though it still feels like summer outside, I am bringing all of the fall flavors into my kitchen (today I made a French onion soup in 90 weather, which just shows how committed I am!).
If you’re with me, definitely go run to the market and grab all the figs and apples you can find, throw them into this big autumn harvest salad, and enjoy a perfectly satisfying autumn meal. Enjoy!
- 1 oz pumpkin seeds
- 1 oz hazelnuts
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp chipotle powder
- ¾ cup safflower oil
- ½ cup julienned sage (loosely packed)
- 3 (4 oz) chicken breasts
- safflower oil
- 4 oz spring mix
- 1 oz mache (or arugula)
- 4 large figs, quartered
- 4 oz chopped honey crisp apples
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled
- 2 oz pomegranate seeds
- In a medium sauté pan, add the pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts. Toast over low heat until slightly brown and nutty. Add the honey. Raise the heat to medium and allow the honey to bubble. Stir the mixture so that the honey evenly coats the seeds and nuts. Let the honey simmer a couple of minutes until it thickens. You should begin to smell a strong honey flavor and the mixture should look very viscous. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture onto an oiled cookie sheet. Toss with a spoon to break it up into pieces. Immediately season with salt while the mixture is still hot. Let cool.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, grainy mustard, honey, and chipotle powder. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Season with salt to taste (make sure it is very well seasoned). Stir in the sage. Let sit until ready to serve.
- Heat the grill (or a grill pan) over high heat. Coat the chicken breasts with oil and season with salt and black pepper. Mark the chicken on the grill until there are really good char marks on each side. Lower the heat, cover the grill, and finish cooking for about 6-8 minutes until cooked through. Let the chicken cool and roughly chop it into smaller pieces.
- To assemble the salad, combine the spring mix and mache (or arugula) in a large mixing bowl. Add the figs, apples, cheddar cheese, and grilled chicken. Give the vinaigrette a good whisk and drizzle it into the bowl (start with half of the vinaigrette and add more according to your preference). Toss the salad well and season with salt to taste. Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and the candied pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts.
For a fun weeknight idea, check out my previous recipe: The Best Jerk Chicken