This simple and delicious fall harvest salad is bursting with seasonal flavors and hearty texture. The juicy pomegranate, roasted sweet potatoes and peppery parsley make it the perfect salad to enjoy all season long, especially as a side dish for Thanksgiving. It is also allergen-friendly as it is vegan and gluten free!
A big, beautiful, hearty salad can easily be the star of the show on any table. The ingredients in this salad are so flavorful that they can actually be enjoyed totally dressing-free, but a light drizzle of this homemade pomegranate vinaigrette is a great finishing touch for a crowd-pleasing bowl.
Keys to Success for a Crave Worthy Fall Harvest Salad
These are a few tips and tricks I always use, no matter the season, that are sure to have your guests going back to the salad bowl for seconds. Follow these and your salad is sure to be a highlight of any Thanksgiving or holiday spread.
- 5+ Ingredients: Using a mixture of ingredients and thinking outside of the traditional “lettuce and veggies box” creates depth and interest for any bowl.
- Adding a Grain: Ingredients such as quinoa, farro, brown rice, or bread crumbs add a hearty texture and make your salad feel like a meal.
- Homemade Dressing: Making your own dressing is SO easy and will take any salad from blah to WOW! Plus, they are way healthier because you are in control of exactly what goes in them. No sugar, dairy, excess oil or preservatives! Homemade dressings also taste much fresher and more flavorful than store-bought dressing.
- Add Something Sweet: Fresh or dried fruit provides a bright and refreshing burst of flavor that is the perfect contrast to earthy veggies.
- Diversify Your Greens: Think outside the box and use a mixture of greens such as kale, arugula, microgreens, mustard greens, or watercress.
- Instant Flavor Enhancers: Ingredients like fresh citrus zest and herbs add so much to the flavor. Start with smaller amounts as some people are sensitive to the flavor of fresh herbs.
- Add a Plant Protein: Legumes such as lentils, beans, edamame and peas add a great texture, fiber, and extra protein to make this salad more of a meal.
Other Classic Thanksgiving Dishes to Veganize
Oftentimes traditional Thanksgiving recipes are filled with meat, milk, butter and cream. However, it’s so easy to veganize many of your favorite Thanksgiving sides..
- Mashed Potatoes: Swap traditional butter and cream for vegan butter and coconut or cashew cream.
- Sweet Potato Casserole: Substitute traditional butter and eggs for vegan butter and flaxseed eggs.
- Stuffing: Swap traditional butter and chicken broth for vegan butter and vegetable broth.
- Green Bean Casserole: Instead of using store-bought mushroom soup, make your own using cashew cream.
- Whipped Cream: My two favorite store-bought options are this Almond Milk Whipped Cream and this Oat Milk Whipped Cream, but you can also make your own using canned coconut milk or aquafaba.
Thanksgiving Sides That Are Already Vegan
- Cranberry Sauce
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Glazed Carrots
- Bread (oftentimes)
Fall Harvest Salad
- 1 C quinoa, cooked according to package and cooled
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil divided
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped about 1 1/2 – 2 cups
- 1/2 C sliced almonds
- 1 bunch lacinto kale, finely chopped about 3 – 4 cups
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 C pomegranate arils
- 14 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 C pinenuts, toasted
Pomegranate Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1/3 C pomegranate juice
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil.
- Add sweet potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with 1 TBSP of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin. Toss to evenly coat. Spread on baking sheet being sure not to overcrowd and using a second baking sheet if needed. Wipe out bowl.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping after 15-20 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add your kale to the same bowl and drizzle with the remaining 1/2 TBSP olive oil and juice of 1 lemon. Use your hands to massage for 15-30 seconds until tender.
- Whisk together all ingredients for dressing in a glass. Season to taste.
- Add all ingredients for salad to a large bowl and toss to combine. This salad is delicious without the dressing, so taste before adding!
- Drizzle a light amount of dressing, if desired, right before serving and toss to combine.