This hearty vegan harvest salad features roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, along with crisp apples. It’s the perfect salad for welcoming and celebrating autumn! It’s also a great addition to any Thanksgiving meal.
When I was growing up, the days after Thanksgiving were loaded with leftover sandwiches. These were usually a combination of turkey, vegetable sides, and anything else that was lying around after the big meal.
I still honor the leftover tradition now. But in addition to Tofurky sandwiches, I also love to make this vegan harvest salad. And I’ve learned that I don’t have to wait till the days after Thanksgiving to enjoy it. It’s a wonderful salad for the whole autumn season, before, during, and after that holiday.
As you can imagine, the salad features classic autumn vegetables: sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. It’s also got a tart vinaigrette, cooked wheat berries, and dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness.
This salad is a celebration of the abundance of autumn product. There’s nothing I love more than October and November at farmers markets in New York. Eggplant and tomato are fading out, but it’s still possible to catch them through the end of October.
Meanwhile, the stands start to spill over with winter squash, greens, root vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more. It’s such a fun time of year, and it creates so much kitchen inspiration.
You can (and should!) modify the ingredients of this salad to include what you’re finding locally, as part of your own harvest celebration. But here’s what I like to use in this harvest salad.
The sweet potatoes add sweetness and nutrition to the harvest salad. They’re roasted to bring out flavor, and they develop that perfect, crispy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside texture.
You can replace the roasted sweet potatoes with roasted winter squash, parsnips, carrots, or rutabaga. You can also choose a different color of sweet potato, like purple or white.
I roast the Brussels sprouts along with the sweet potato for the harvest salad. They become crispy, just the way roasted sprouts should. I love the texture that they add to this dish.
If you need to make a substitution, you can try adding crispy, roasted broccoli or cauliflower florets to the harvest salad instead.
Wheat berries require a longer cooking time than other grains. The harvest salad calls for wheat berries that are already cooked, so keep this in mind when you prepare the recipe. I like to cook big batches of whole grains on the weekend as part of my meal prep routine. This way, I can use them in recipes as the week goes by.
If you eat gluten-free, then you can add cooked quinoa or brown rice to the salad in place of the wheat or spelt berries.
Pick your favorite baby green for the harvest salad. I love baby kale here. It’s tender, but it has a slight bitterness that helps to offset the sweetness of sweet potatoes and dried cranberries.
I’ve also prepared this salad with arugula, which has a wonderful, lemony bite. I’ve made it with baby romaine, mesclun greens, and baby spinach.
A final option is to try using regular kale or very thinly sliced collard greens in the salad. If you do this, I recommend massaging some of the vinaigrette into the greens before you add the remaining ingredients. This will soften the leafy greens.
For this salad, I used the wonderful baby kale from local grower Satur Farms.
It wouldn’t be autumn in the Northeast without apples! Apples may be my favorite fruit. I’m usually busy snacking on them plain at this time of year.
However, I also love to bake them for oatmeal, bake them whole, with streusel topping, throw them into crisps and crumbles, roast them for breakfast salad, fold them into my muffins, or bake them in a cake.
I love to use a crisp, sweet tart apple for the harvest salad. My favorites are pink lady and honeycrisp. For something sweeter, gala apples are really nice, too.
The vinaigrette here is a little tart, a little sweet, and a little mustardy. That’s how I like nearly all of my vinaigrettes for salads to be!
I use sherry vinegar as an acid source, but you can substitute white or red wine vinegar. You can also use apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar.
I also like to add some finely chopped shallot to the vinaigrette. It adds a savory note and some complexity to the harvest salad. If you don’t have shallots, you can use some finely chopped garlic or red onion instead.
This element is optional. But if you’d like to add some crunch to the salad, you can throw in some toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. My spicy Brussels sprout & pumpkin seed salad topper is a fun addition, too!
The steps for making the vegan harvest salad are really simple. First, roast the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. While these vegetables roast, you can whisk together the vinaigrette.
Last, add the roasted veggies to your pre-cooked grains, leafy greens, and apples. That’s it! Toss, serve, savor.
There are a number of ways to meal prep the harvest salad. The vinaigrette can be stored for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge. So, it’s easy to make ahead.
The roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
Cooked wheat or spelt berries can be stored in the fridge for up to five days as well. In addition, they can be frozen for up to six weeks. Because cooking wheat berries takes a little time, I love to make them in a large batch and freeze some for quick access in future recipes.
I think that a lot of people tend to think of salad as a summertime food. I love summery salads, of course. But I also tend to think that fall and winter are awesome seasons for making satisfying, complex, and filling salad dishes. Here are a few more of my favorite salads for cool weather:
The harvest salad will make four generous portions. These are enough to make it a meal-sized salad.
If you prefer to serve the salad as a side dish, it can make 6-8 small portions. It’s perfect for sharing with friends as part of a larger feast—exactly what the harvest season is all about.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Empire State Development . The opinions and text are all mine.