Fall Harvest Salad
Fall Harvest Salad with maple vinaigrette is a delicious celebration of fall flavors. There’s a bit of everything in this salad, and with juicy chicken breasts, it’s a whole meal. From the apples and pears to the dressing, which is lightly sweetened with maple, this fabulous salad is perfect for a small group. Serve it on a 12×24-inch board, and let everyone dig in!
I love salads like this, where you can mix and match the ingredients to build a customized salad. My guests always love it, too, and it’s a great way for everyone to get what they like and to easily avoid ingredients they don’t care for as much.
Fall Harvest Salad
This Fall Harvest Salad is not just stunning to look at, but when combined, the flavors are fabulous! I love the fruit in it, and the chicken adds plenty of protein. There’s blue cheese, too, and the nutty crunch is the perfect touch.
The maple vinaigrette pulls this salad all together. It is lightly sweetened with maple, and your guests can drizzle on as much or as little as they like.
Perfect for entertaining or even for a casual meal with family and friends, this fabulous salad is a must-try!
Why I love this recipe
- It makes enough for about 10 hungry guests, but you can divide everything in half for a smaller group.
- This Fall Harvest Salad is so pretty when served on the long 12×24-inch board, but you could use any large platter.
- You can prep just about everything ahead of time and then arrange it on the board just before serving.
Gather these ingredients
- Chicken breast – Use boneless skinless to save on prep time.
- Garlic salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Romaine lettuce – 2-3 heads. You’ll need 8-10 cups chopped.
- Bartlett pears – Cored and chopped.
- Honeycrisp apples – Cored and chopped.
- Dried cranberries
- Pecans – Toasted and chopped.
- Blue cheese – Crumbled.
For the dressing:
- Balsamic vinegar
- Maple syrup – Use real maple syrup.
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic – Fresh garlic; minced.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper – To taste.
How to make the best Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally so that you have thinner chicken breast pieces. Season them on both sides with garlic salt and black pepper.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium heat. Cook the chicken cutlets for 3-4 minutes per side or until they’re cooked through (165-F on a digital meat thermometer).
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool, then slice them lengthwise into strips.
- Wash, dry and chop the romaine lettuce, then lay it down on a 12×24-inch board.
- Add the chopped pears, chopped apples, dried cranberries, pecans, crumbled blue cheese, and sliced chicken on top of the greens.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic, and olive oil in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake it well. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing or put the dressing out in a bowl with a spoon for guests to add their own.
Tips & substitutions
- You can prep much of this salad ahead of time. The lettuce can be washed and chopped, the chicken cooked and cut, and the dressing can all be made 1-2 days in advance. Cut the apples and pears just before serving.
- Shortcut for the chicken: Buy and chop up Rotisserie chicken (and skip the cooking process of the chicken breasts).
- Cut the apples and pears the same size for easy eating and a pretty presentation.
- Don’t add the dressing until just before serving so that the greens stay crisp. Alternatively, let your guests add their own dressing.
- Too much salad? Divide the ingredients in half and make enough for 4-5 hungry diners.
This salad is almost a complete meal. Serve it with a side of garlic bread or my favorite Amish Cinnamon Bread, and you’ll be all set! This is the perfect meal to serve with a great dessert. Choose a fall dessert like this easy Apple Goody or an apple-pear skillet dessert with vanilla ice cream. Yum!
You can store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. If the salad has dressing on it, consume it as soon as you can, as it’ll wilt the greens.
Check out these awesome salad recipes while you’re here
Get the Recipe:
Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- 1.5 lb chicken breasts, 3 large, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 heads romaine lettuce, (8-10 cups chopped) rinsed and dried
- 3 pears, cored and chopped (green - use Bartlett pears)
- 3 red apples, cored and chopped (use Honeycrisp)
- 1 ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 ½ cup pecans, toasted (or buy the sweet ones at Trader Joe’s)
- 2 cups blue cheese, 8 oz, crumbled
Maple Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ cup maple syrup + 1 TBSP
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 6 thin pieces. Season chicken cutlets on both sides with garlic salt and black pepper. Place a large skillet over medium heat with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken cutlets and saute 3-4 minutes per side or until fully cooked through.
- Transfer to a cutting board to cool; slice the chicken into strips.
- On a large 12x24 or 20” board, lay down the chopped romaine greens. (Optional to add all ingredients to a large salad bowl if not using a board.)
- On top, in rows, add the chopped pears, chopped apples (chop the same size), dried cranberries, pecans, crumbled blue cheese, and sliced chicken.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
- Right before serving, shake the dressing again and drizzle over the salad, or let guests dish up their own salad and drizzle with dressing.
Hello and welcome to my home and table!
I’m Sandy—lover of food, family, cooking, THE BIG BOARD, travel, and bringing people together. Through great recipes and connection around the table, we become better, stronger, and more courageous people. Feasting on Life is real, and every time we do it, we grow a little more. Read more...