I have some friends who always make marvelous salads to go with their dinners and that’s where I was first introduced to Harvest Salad. It’s so nice to have a glorious salad at a dinner party. It’s not only delish and brings a special touch, but I think it makes your guests feel pampered. Of course, I got the recipe, but over time I mixed it up just a bit into this Healthy Harvest Salad.
When I remade this salad, part of the way I made it healthier was to add more of all the good stuff. More apple, more pear, more nuts. Because now that we all know how healthy nuts are, you can just never have too many! I used to just skip nuts in just about every recipe, but no more!
About Healthy Harvest Salad:
Besides, all that healthy good stuff is what really makes the salad. Why not have more? Of course part of the fun of the salad is the dried cranberries (they’re so chewy and good) that contrast so well with the crispiness, and of course the lettuce. That’s all still here.
So as I tweaked this salad, I was a little bit devious; I made sure my measurements reflected a serving of nuts and a serving of fruits per person…and no one’s the wiser. Everyone I’ve ever served this salad to loves it, including children. I’m betting you’ll have no arguments or have to persuade anyone to eat this salad! And guess what? If they pick around the lettuce, that’s ok. See lettuce offers a good amount fiber but as far as nutritional value? It’s not that big of a deal to skip it.
The best part of this salad, though, has to be this homemade dressing! It’s tart to offset the sweet fruit (and dried fruit) in the salad. I’m freakish about store-bought dressings and make my own most of the time; I usually double them because they’ll keep in the fridge for weeks and that saves me time.
For years, I had an “emergency” store bought bottle in the fridge and once when I had friends over, they brought a salad. They forgot the dressing and my emergency bottle, which had been opened, was over two years past the “best by” date! So that’s when I let go of store-bought altogether. Most dressings are so loaded full of stuff it’s scary and once you get in the habit of making your own, you won’t want to go back!
Making Healthy Harvest Salad:
While most salads don’t require too much cooking, in this one, I’d recommend you toast the nuts. I like the texture and flavor a little bit better. If you want to go over the top, you can always “Candy” your nuts using this recipe for Candied Pecans or Other Nuts. That’s super delish…but I gotta admit, takes time and kind of defeats the healthy aspect. Still, if you have to “bribe” someone to eat salad with something sweet, well, I think that’s a minor sin. Use any nuts you like. I personally like pecans, the time I made this to update the photos all I had was almonds or walnuts, so walnuts were my choice. Any of the three are great choices, but almonds tend to just fall to the bottom of the salad. The links on each of the nuts will take you to their nutritional info.
You can toss your apple and pear slices in a little lemon juice; that will keep them from browning. Beyond that, the salad part is just assembly.
The dressing is bright and garlicky, and I just love it – but there’s barely a hint of sweetness. You know your family and what they like, so if they usually go for a sweeter dressing, just add more sugar. Make it ahead if you do add more sugar; it takes a little time, 15 minutes or so for a greater amount of sugar to dissolve. Shake it now and then.
Saving Money on Healthy Harvest Salad:
Lettuces routinely go on sale in my store, one week it’s iceberg, the next spinach, the next Romaine and so on. If Romaine isn’t at a great price, wait till it is or substitutes whatever is on sale. I think this salad is best with some simple lettuce. Bibb would be great, too. In general, I try to avoid the bagged varieties, which can cost up to four times the amount of heads or loose lettuces – $2.50 for a 10-ounce bag on sale is about $4.00 a pound. Romaine is often on sale for 99 cents a head.
I stock up on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in the fall. They’re at a low after the harvest and often on sale at a low to move them for holiday baking. Watch for coupons. Keep your nuts in the freezer and if the dried fruit is in a flimsy bag, repackage it into something a little more airtight. Be open about the variety of apples and pears when you make this salad; there’s usually something on sale.
I love this salad because it does seem decadent, but it’s really full of common, everyday ingredients. When I served a couple of other friends this salad at dinner, they took one look at said, “Fancy.” I didn’t correct them!Print
Healthy Harvest Salad
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: American
- 3 cups of Romaine (or other dark lettuce) chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pear, thinly sliced or cut in chunks
- 1 apple, thinly sliced or cut in chunks
- 1 heaping tablespoon of dried cranberries or cherries roughly sliced in half
- 2 ounces of pecans or another choice, or about 1/2 cup of whole, 1/4 cup chopped, toasted
Garlicky Dijon Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or more to taste (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
Mix all ingredients and then dress with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of Harvest Dressing. If preparing ahead, toss the cut pears and apples in a little dressing (or lemon juice) to preserve their color.
To toast the pecans, add them to a medium-hot skillet, tossing frequently until they begin to give off an aroma.
Garlicky Dijon Dressing:
This recipe makes a little over a cup, enough for at least two salads.
Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in a lidded jar. Store in the refrigerator door (where the olive oil is less likely to harden.)
Harvest Dressing will keep for weeks/months but it the olive oil hardens in the fridge, bring up to room temperature before using. Simply place on the counter while preparing dinner or place in the microwave for several seconds.
Keywords: Apple, cranberries, dried cranberries, Dried Fruit, Fruit, Nuts and Seeds, Olive oil, Pear, Pecans, Salad, Salad Dressings