This fall harvest salad is a chopped salad that's loaded with the all best flavors of fall. It's layered with kale, cranberries, apple, roasted sweet potato, pecans & more. The dressing is a simple, 5-ingredient Creamy Tahini Dressing that will have you craving this salad all season long!
About This Recipe
This recipe is all the bounty and flavor of fall in a bowl! The base is finely chopped kale layered with crunchy, tasty mix-ins and drizzled with the BEST creamy tahini dressing.
It's a salad that has everything: a perfect chopped texture, lots of crunchy toppings, and a deliciously creamy dressing. Even if kale isn't your favorite lettuce, this salad will have you craving it!
This salad is tasty as a side dish to a fall dinner or it's hearty enough to be a stand-alone meal. This is also a popular option as a Thanksgiving salad because it's festive and can be made ahead of time.
Step 1: Prep The Sweet Potato
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cubed sweet potato and toss with the oil, salt and pepper.
TIP: to save time, skip using your oven and buy frozen cubed sweet potato or butternut squash. Defrost it in the microwave or on the stovetop before adding it to your salad.
Step 2: Bake The Sweet Potato
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until cooked through. Flip after 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Step 3: Mix The Dressing
In a small bowl or jar, mix the dressing. Add water if you need to thin the dressing.
Step 4: Massage The Kale
Add the kale to a large bowl and use your fingers to toss and massage it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This helps soften the kale.
Step 5: Assemble The Salad
Add all of the salad ingredients, including the cooked sweet potato, to the bowl with the kale. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to coat.
Step 6: Serve
This salad can be enjoyed immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for later. It will stay good for about 4-5 days.
Here's a few helpful notes and popular substitutions for the ingredients used in this recipe:
Kale: I've used curly kale for this recipe (the most common type), but you can use any variety of kale. De-stem and finely chop your kale for the best texture.
Sweet potato: this can be swapped out for butternut squash or pumpkin. To save time, you can also buy this frozen and defrost it instead of baking it.
Nuts: this recipe calls for pecans; almonds or walnuts would also be tasty.
Cheese: instead of parmesan you could use romano, feta, or goat cheese. Diced cheddar cheese would also work well.
About The Dressing
This recipe includes a simple, homemade creamy tahini dressing. It only uses 5 ingredients that are all pantry staples.
If you haven't had tahini dressing before, it has a mild creamy flavor that's slightly sweet and lemon-y. It's delicious! And this salad is the perfect complement for it because it mellows out the kale.
The dressing is also very versatile. Once you mix your dressing, taste it and adjust the flavors depending on personal preference. Add more maple syrup (for sweetness), lemon (for acidity) or salt and pepper.
Other Dressing Options
If you aren't a fan of tahini, swap this out for your favorite dressing. Other popular options include: apple cider vinaigrette, citrus vinaigrette, or balsamic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since we are chopping our kale very finely it's not necessary to massage it; however, I would still recommend doing so because it will make the kale softer and easier to eat.
To massage your kale, use your fingers to toss and rub it with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
This tahini dressing is the BEST. If you've never had it before, it's like a creamy, lemon-y and slightly sweet flavor. Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which are naturally very mild and slightly nutty.
Yes! This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. It will stay good in the fridge for 4 - 5 days. The longer it sits, the more the kale will marinate and the flavors will strengthen.
Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 - 5 days.
The only kitchen equipment that you'll need for this recipe is a baking sheet to roast your sweet potato on. I swear by the Nordic Ware brand, and use their 2-pack from amazon: Baking Sheets.
A large salad bowl is nice to have but not necessary. My go-to salad bowl is this large white one from Sur La Table: White Serving Bowl. If you don't have a salad bowl, use the largest mixing bowl that you have.
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment & rating at the bottom of this page!