Caroline is back with another recipe today that is bursting with fall flavors!
Am I the only one who views foods seasonally? Like the idea of making a pot roast in the middle of summer seems ludicrous to me. I love cooking with flavors and ingredients that tie in with the season – and this autumn harvest salad does the trick.
Full of roasted veggies and studded with flavors that scream “fall” – this is a salad you’ll make over and over again. My favorite ingredient is the beautiful delicata squash – a winter squash I can only find for a few months during fall/winter. Trader Joe’s usually starts carrying them about this time of year. I love that unlike other winter squashes, the skin on delicata squash is tender enough to eat when cooked… so no peeling involved! If you can’t find them, feel free to substitute by roasting butternut or acorn squashes (sorry, you’ll have to bust out those veggie peelers!), or even diced sweet potato.
You can fix it as a big “family style” salad for dinner, but I love turning it into a mason jar salad to eat for lunch. The order in which you put your ingredients into the jar is critical. You put your dressing at the bottom, then top with heartier veggies/fruits, grains (quinoa), protein, extra toppings (cheese, nuts, etc.), and finally the greens.
As a mom with young children, I would dread lunchtime. I usually rotate between two or three breakfast meals, and always meal-plan my dinners ahead of time, but would often find myself at lunchtime at a loss for what to feed myself. So I started doing mason jar salad swaps with friends. Find four friends and have everyone come up with an idea for a different type of salad. Then fix enough of your salads so that everyone gets one – and swap with one another. You’ll leave with a different salad for every day of the week, while only having to do the prep work for one.
Salad swaps are a lifesaver. I never have to wonder what I’m going to fix for myself that day – I just pick a salad out of the fridge. If you can’t find that many friends to swap with you, pick one girlfriend and you can swap two for two! I promise that you’ll be everyone’s new best friend when you bring along this salad to your next swap!
Autumn Harvest Mason Jar Salad with Maple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette
1 large package mixed greens
1 package (4-5 links) apple chicken sausage
2 apples (I recommended Gala or Honeycrisp), diced into bite-sized pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 delicata squash (found at Trader Joes –or you can substitute sweet potato, butternut squash or acorn squash)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds or pecans
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
¼ cup high-quality apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real deal, ladies – no Aunt Jemima!)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Trim and quarter your Brussels sprouts. Toss in ¾ teaspoon olive oil and spread out on half a large foiled-lined baking sheet. Take your delicata squash – trim top and bottom, slice in half length wise, remove seeds with a spoon, then cut into ¼” thick slices. Toss in remaining olive oil and spread evenly on another foil-lined baking sheet. Top all veggies with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Roast, turning frequently, until golden brown – about 25-30 minutes.
- While veggies are roasting, cook chicken apple sausages on stovetop or grill (per package instructions.) When finished, cut in slices.
- If you haven’t already, cook your quinoa per package instructions. One cup dry usually results in 3 cups cooked, so you’ll likely have a little left over.
- Combine all dressing ingredients into a pint-sized mason jar and shake to combine. Dressing will last, refrigerated, for a week.
- To assemble as your mason jar salad: grab five wide-mouth, 1-qt jars. Pour in ¼ cup of dressing (or about ½ inch from the bottom of your jar) and then layer in your ingredients in this order: apples, roasted veggies, quinoa, chicken sausage, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds/pecans, and finally salad greens. Really pack those salad greens in at the top – you want to have the jar filled to the brim. Close lid tightly! When it’s time to eat, dump your salad into a large bowl and dig in. Salad stays good for three to four days.