22 Fall Salad Recipes to See You Through the Season
In spring and summer salads are an obvious meal—farmers markets overflow with fresh produce, and salads are a seasonally appropriate way to showcase the lettuces, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are in abundance. When the seasons change, the offerings at the local market change, too, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about salads for the year. Hearty cool-weather vegetables like kale and cabbage, fruits like apples and citrus, and grains like spelt and wheat berries all let you make satisfying salads all through the fall and winter. We’ve rounded up 22 of our favorites, from a cabbage salad with roasted onions and a beet and citrus salad with a pine nut vinaigrette to a Caesar that trades romaine lettuce out for kale.
This salad is made with baby kale, goat cheese, and sherry vinegar dressing, but it’s really all about the mushrooms. The key is to cook them until they have a golden crust, just as if you were cooking a steak. We add the mushrooms to the salad straight from the pan so that their heat wilts the kale slightly.
Making a great salad is all about paying attention to contrasting textures and flavors, and in this case that means soft and sweet cipollini onion, crispy red cabbage, bitter chicory, crunchy walnuts, and creamy aged goat cheese. For even more flavor go with a slightly funky aged goat cheese like Humboldt Fog.
This hearty make-ahead salad pairs chewy wheat berries with sweet roasted beets and sautéed beet greens. We also mix in toasted pecans and pickled apples—pickling the apples both keeps them from turning brown and gives the salad enough acidity to balance out the earthy beets.
Green apples have plenty of tartness without the help of vinegar, so we add them as-is to this bulgur, smoked trout, and radish salad. The stand-out ingredient is candied lemon segments—cooking them in simple syrup softens their edge. Toasting the bulgur before steeping brings out its nuttiness, adding an extra layer of complexity to the dish.
Sweet, earthy beets are one of our favorite ingredients for cold-weather salads, and they’re even better when paired with tangy citrus. There are a million ways to combine the two—to get started, try this salad made with grapefruit, orange, ricotta, and pistachios. We use juice from the fruit in the vinaigrette to give the salad extra citrus flavor.
We use the same basic technique here, matching roasted beets with orange and grapefruit suprèmes and a pine nut vinaigrette. In our experience the best way to roast beets is in airtight foil pouches—that way they steam as they cook, tenderizing faster and losing less moisture.
The unconventional dressing for this salad isn’t actually a vinaigrette at all—we ditch the typical vinegar for Japanese shoyu-dashi. A mixture of soy sauce and dashi, shoyu-dashi gives the dressing a deep, savory note rather than a bright, acidic one. The “vinaigrette” is delicious on all kinds of salads, like this one made with sweet potatoes, arugula, and walnuts.
Kale is significantly tougher than your average salad green, so if you’re going to serve it raw you will need to put in a little work. Massaging the leaves with olive oil is a great way to soften them to a more pleasant texture. From there you can use the kale in whatever salad you like—I love it with a classic Caesar dressing.
You’ve probably come across raisins mixed into salads—this is basically the same idea, but grapes that you oven-dry at home have way better flavor and texture. Here we use them to perk up an otherwise simple salad made with massaged kale, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese.
Too lazy to massage your kale? Lucky for you, there’s a more hands-off way as long as you have a little time. All you have to do is toss the leaves in oil and let them marinate for an hour—it doesn’t get much easier than that. While the kale sits you can make the sumac-seasoned onions and vinaigrette for this simple salad.
Baby kale, on the other hand, doesn’t need any tenderizing—it’s all set to be mixed into a salad with grapefruit, avocado, and tofu. We cook the tofu slowly in a pan to give it a crackly crust and season it with plenty of za’atar. To give the vegan salad some creaminess we dress it with a mixture of miso and tahini.
Don’t be scared off by the ingredient list—this salad is less daunting than it might look. Besides, it’ll be worth the effort when you taste the mixture of crispy roast potatoes, sweet caramelized shallots, and meaty sautéed shiitake mushrooms. The potatoes take a while to cook—they need to be parboiled before roasting—but that gives you time to work on the other elements of the dish.
As the temperature falls the quality of citrus you’ll find at the store gets better and better. To do justice to peak-season pomelos, tangerines, and mandarins we cut them into suprèmes, mix with endive, radicchio, escarole, and fennel, and dress with a creamy citrus vinaigrette.
This showstopper of a salad is a great option for holiday parties because most of the prep can be done ahead of time—the hearty brassicas, radishes, potatoes, and cold-weather greens will hold up well in the refrigerator even after being dressed. Feel free to use whatever brassicas look best at the market.
Forget about a steaming bowl of soup—I want a warm salad on a cool day. Brussels sprouts are a natural choice because they take on such a satisfyingly sweet, nutty flavor when cooked. For the ultimate in comfort, try cooking the leaves in bacon fat and serving with crumbled bacon and a hazelnut vinaigrette made with more bacon fat.
Sweet roasted carrots are practically made to be seasoned with warm spices like this blend of ancho chili powder, cumin, and paprika. We incorporate the spices into this salad in two ways, tossing the carrots with some before roasting and using the rest to make a simplified mole-style sauce.
Filling, nutritious whole grains are a staple of our fall salads—chewy rye berries are especially good for this recipe with carrots, cilantro, celery, and Marcona almonds. Cook the carrots whole and cut them afterwards and they’ll cook more evenly that if you tried to slice them first.
Nutty spelt is another of our favorite whole grains, and in this salad we pair it with diced leeks and cremini mushrooms. The creminis are marinated in tart cider vinegar—the acidity complements the earthy grain wonderfully. Grain salads need something fresh in them, so we also mix in sliced cucumber.
You can pick whatever kind of whole grain you like—I like mild-tasting farro—to use in this salad made with roasted fennel. Salty, savory prosciutto and pecorino are the perfect match for the sweet fennel and hearty grain.
Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you have to stick with dark flavors. This bright salad, as tasty in October as it is in June, is packed with smoky bacon, broiled Poblano peppers, briny cotija, and earthy chickpeas. I tend to cheat and use canned chickpeas, but starting with dried leads to better flavor and texture.
While it’s known as a health food, we like black rice for its nutty flavor and substantial texture as much as for its nutritional value. Here we make it into a salad with edamame, cabbage, scallions, and cilantro, then serve it with miso-glazed portobello mushrooms to make a more filling meal.
This couscous salad gives new life to the classic combination of dill, mustard, and salmon—we start by flaking cooked salmon into pearled couscous, then toss with a mustard-dill dressing. For color and flavor we wilt in a handful of spinach just before serving.
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