Celebrate harvest season with this delicious and pretty Fall Salad, with apples, pears, cranberries, pecans and sunflower seeds.
This pretty Fall salad features kale, mixed greens and watercress for the base. On top, are the beautiful apples, sliced and fanned. The cranberries are fresh, and are quickly sauteed with sugar to soften and sweeten. There’s toasted pecans and sunflower seeds. And pretty pear roses. To top off this salad, there is goat cheese and a delicious Apple Vinaigrette.
This salad is Fall in a bowl! A perfect centrepiece salad for Thanksgiving. With all the great, Fall harvest ingredients, it’s easy to make this salad anytime, but it’s especially nice for a special meal, such as Thanksgiving.
Greens: I’ve used a mix of watercress, kale and mixed greens here. Use whatever greens you like, though I think a mix of greens makes a prettier salad, whatever greens you use.
Apples: I love a bright, red-skinned apple for this salad, as it both looks pretty in the salad, but will be nicely sweet, as well.
Cranberries: If fresh cranberries aren’t available or you prefer to skip them, dried cranberries would be just fine in this salad as well.
Goat Cheese: I love goat cheese, but crumbled feta would also be nice in this salad.
If your salad may sit a bit (such as on a Thanksgiving table), lightly brush your fanned apples with lemon juice to prevent browning.
How to make the pear roses: Take a prepared quarter of the pear and using a vegetable peeler, take a couple of slices off the side edge. Discard these slices. Now start taking even slices from top to bottom (or bottom to top) until you have 7 or 8 slices. Take those sliced and arrange in a straight line, overlapping by about 1/3. Start from one end and begin rolling up the line in to a circle.
Get the Recipe: Fall Harvest Salad
- 1/4 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp white sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 5 cups mixed greens, Baby Kale, Spring mix, watercress
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen or substitute dried
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 apple, unpeeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 Bosc Pear, unpeeled, quartered, cored
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup goat cheese crumbles
- Make the Apple Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside, covered on the counter for 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Re-mix before using. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead.
- Sweeten the fresh cranberries, if using: Add the fresh cranberries to a large skillet. Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp white sugar. Cook, tossing pan regularly, until cranberries are softened, but have not collapsed or burst. Remove skillet from heat and allow cranberries to cool and sit in sugar syrup while you prepare the salad.
- Assemble the salad: Add mixed greens to bottom of salad bowl of plate. Place 3 or 4 fans of sliced apple over-top. Place a spoonful of cranberries next to the apple fan. Add some of the pecans next to the cranberries. Place a pear rose** next to the fanned apples. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over top. Sprinkle evenly with goat cheese crumbles. Drizzle with apple vinaigrette to serve.
More Fall salads you might also like …
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!
Hi, would I use raw or salted sunflower seeds?
I generally use raw sunflower seeds, as it’s what I always have around. If you have salted though, they wouldn’t hurt the salad.
I would do a face plant in this bowl of deliciousness! All my favourite fall ingredients and I love that these apples don’t go brown – too cool!
The watercress makes this beautiful bowl look romantic, too :)
Thanks so much, Robyn and yes, watercress is one of my favourites to add to salads. So delicious and so pretty :)
Looks so lovely ♥
Thanks Summer :)
This is such a stunning salad! I’d happily skip the turkey in favor of this beauty :).
Thanks so much, Laura and me too :)
Loudest crunch! I love that! So fun. I’m going to keep my eyes open for these apples. Such a beautiful presentation on this salad, Jennifer!
Thanks so much, Liz and yes, they are super crunchy apples, for sure :)
What a gorgeous salad! I love apples in a salad and especially when combined with sunflower seeds, goat cheese and pears! This is a wonderful treat for sure.
Thanks so much, Tricia and I do, too. In fact, I love fruit in general in salads. So fresh tasting and I love the bit of sweetness :)
What a stunner! Love the rosettes and these apples don’t brown?! amazing. Sign me up!!
Thanks Cathy and yes, these apples were such a pleasant surprise. I didn’t use any lemon on them at all. They just stayed lovely all on their own!
What a good looking salad, I have to look for sweet Tango apples.
Thanks so much, Gerlinde!
Namaskaram Jennifer – beautiful!!! But I think you got the discription wrong – this is by no means a Salad but simply a beautiful work of Art! Well done – too beautiful to eat (and I do love love love salads!) Its my screen saver for the next few days :) :) :)
Thanks Carina :) And I’m honoured to be gracing your desktop!
Oh wow, prettiest salad EVER, Jennifer!! This is definitely a show stopper and SOOO perfect for the holidays! But I’m loving how this is so much more than just a pretty dish, you also jam packed this full of flavor! I mean, apples, pears, cranberries, pecans, sunflower seeds AND goat cheese WITH an Apple Vinaigrette? Holy smokes, AMAZING! This is my idea of salad heaven, girlfriend! Pinned! Cheers!
Thanks so much, Cheyanne! I had such fun putting it together and the flavours were so lovely :)
BEAUTIFUL! I love salads like this and could eat my weight in them. How cool is that that the Sweet Tango apples don’t get brown. I’m very impressed!!
Thanks Chris and I think I did eat my weight in this. Was so delicious! And yes, I was seriously impressed with how the apples held up. Absolutely beautiful (no brown at all!) after a day in the fridge!
Wow! What an absolutely gorgeous salad Jennifer! This would be perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday! Sounds so flavorful!
Thanks so much, Mary Ann and yes, it would be perfect for entertaining!