If you're looking for a harvest salad recipe, you've got to try this healthy, flavor-packed cranberry apple harvest salad. This autumn salad has sweet seed clusters, a fall cranberry dressing, and will go great on your Thanksgiving and holiday menus!
It's November which means it's time to think about holiday menus! 😉 My holiday philosophy may be a little different than others, in that I while I won't deny anyone their favorite holiday indulgences (hello green bean casserole and pumpkin pie!), I personally prefer dishes that have simple, quality ingredients that are allowed to shine - just like this simple Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad.
Can this cranberry apple harvest salad be made ahead?
This harvest salad is fairly simple and is broken down to a couple components that can be prepped ahead. The two more time-consuming elements of the salad, the maple cinnamon candied seed clusters and the cranberry salad dressing, can be made in advance.
Once those are made ahead, I would recommend assembling your greens, slicing your apples, and tossing the apple harvest salad just prior to serving.
Are there any ingredients I can substitute?
This cranberry apple harvest salad is already a recipe that's a great option for many. It's suitable for vegans, vegetarians, those with any food allergies or sensitivities to any of the top eight most common food allergens (wheat/ gluten, soy, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, egg). And with all the flavor and texture variety, it's a salad that'll please most anyone else, too! Even if your friends or family are just looking for a lighter side to balance out all the heavier fare, this will work fantastic! It's light, but still feels festive, flavorful, and delicious.
That said, you can try substituting the following to make it your own:
- Not an apple fan? Try other fall fruit favorites, like pears and persimmons.
- Use any variety of greens you love.
- If no one is allergic to nuts, you can try substituting your favorite nuts for the seeds.
If you end up making this tasty Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad, please be sure to share your experience with me! Nothing makes my day more than when I get a comment or message on the NTF Facebook page from someone who has tried a recipe and loved it! Same goes for Instagram! When I see you tagging me (@nutritiontofit) and #nutritiontofit on your photos of my recipes, my heart does a little happy dance. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!
Looking for more healthy holiday side dishes? Try these:
- Prosciutto Green Beans
- Vegan and Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole
- Easy Vegan Creamed Corn
- Rosemary Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
- Nut-Free Sweet Potato Casserole
- Spiced Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup
Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad
For the Maple Cinnamon Candied Seed Clusters:
- 3 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
- 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tbsp raw hemp seeds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp olive oil
For the Cranberry Salad Dressing:
- 1 c. fresh cranberries
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ c. water
For the salad:
- 8 oz bag of baby kale greens blend
- 1 medium-sized apple core removed and thinly sliced (can use any type, I used honeycrisp)
- Prepare the maple cinnamon candied seed clusters by toasting the sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds and cinnamon in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until slightly toasted. Remove seeds from pan to a plate and set aside. Combine maple syrup and olive in the same pan over medium-low heat and stir briefly until the syrup mixture is bubbling. Add the toasted seeds back to the pan and quickly stir until seeds are evenly coated. Transfer to a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Allow to cool at least ten minutes; the seeds will harden as they cool. Once cool to the touch, break apart into clusters. Set aside (or save in an enclosed container on the counter for up to 24 hours).
- To prepare the salad dressing, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, olive oil, and cinnamon in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until cranberries have softened and burst and mixture has thickened. Transfer cranberry mixture to a food processor. Add ¼ cup water and process on high for 60 seconds, or until a smooth, even cranberry dressing has formed. Set aside (or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 24 hours).
- Assemble the salad prior to serving. To assemble, place the baby kale greens in a serving bowl or platter, top with apple slices, seed clusters, and drizzle the thick cranberry dressing on top. Serve additional cranberry dressing on the side.