Falling for Salads

Summer is over, but salad season remains in full bloom. When it comes to fall salads, it is about enjoying all the produce that autumn offers. From a nutritional standpoint, most of us could stand to bump up our intake of fruits and vegetables, fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients. According to recent studies, few Americans actually consume the 2-3 cups of vegetables recommended daily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Get excited about creating fall salads:

  1. Make your Plate Pretty: Using a variety of fruits and vegetables not only looks beautiful, but a colorful plate also offers a wide range of nutrients for your health. Take your salad to the next level by pulling out a special bowl or platter and/or adding a simple garnish.
  2. Jazz Up your Base: If your go-to green is romaine, try mixing in some chopped kale, spinach, sliced cabbage, or shredded brussel sprouts. Or grab a green or veggie you would not normally add to a salad – maybe some radicchio or endive?
  3. Use Cooked Vegetables: Lose the “raw only” mentality when it comes to salads.
    • Add roasted beets, squash sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or sprouts, just to name a few options.
    • Add grilled zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, or corn for a seasonal twist.
    • Recycle leftover veggies – or make extra in anticipation.
  4.  Make it Sweet:  Adding fruit boosts the flavor and nutrition profile of a salad.
    • Add fresh and seasonal fruits like apples and pears.
    • Enjoy a tropical mango or some sweet berries.
    • Pomegranate ariels offer both a sweet and tart flavor.
    • Some fruits like strawberries can be blended into dressing.
    • Dried fruits like golden raisins, apricots and fig can add texture and flavor.
  5. Add Texture: If looking for crunch, add some seeds, nuts, or toasted croutons. For a creamy element, consider goat cheese or avocado. Shredding versus chopping fresh vegetables changes up the texture. So does using pantry staples, such as artichokes or jarred roasted red peppers.
  6. Make it a Meal: By adding some protein and grains, a simple side salad can be transformed into a complete meal. Look in your refrigerator. The trick is to get creative, without making it complicated.
    • Add leftover proteins like grilled fish or chicken.
    • Cut up some cheese, open up a can of chickpeas, pull out some edamame from the freezer or hard boil a couple of eggs.
    • Toss in leftover quinoa or make a batch of farro or brown rice.
  7. Dress it up: Step away from some of the standard salad dressings and consider using a variety of oils and vinegars.
    • Try avocado, walnut, or sesame oil instead of olive oil.
    • Swap out red wine vinegar for champagne or balsamic fig vinegar.
    • Use different spices, citrus zest, and mustards to create a unique and delicious salad dressing.

This Warm Roasted Sweet Potato, Farro, and Greens Salad hits all the right buttons. Perfect for a plant-based meal, it has texture, color and flavor that is protein packed, high in fiber and will keep you satisfied from the first bite to the last.  

For a hearty fall salad, this Apple Gorgonzola Salad is a winning recipe. The rich creamy cheese combined with the sweet crunching apple is topped off with a balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing.

Don’t miss this Spinach, Beet and Chicken Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing. Loaded with color and good-for-you ingredients, including chickpeas and avocado, this salad will become a staple this fall.

Last but not least, enjoy this Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe that was highlighted at my recent nutrition class.

Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe
Yields: 4 servings

For the Dressing:

  • ⅓ cup low fat mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste/optional

For The Salad:

  • 1 apple cut into small cubes
  • 3 cups salad greens washed and spin dried
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes halved
  • 1 cup 2-3 medium size celery stalks, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes


  1. Stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, pepper and salt, if desired.
  2. Toss together the diced apple, grapes, celery, walnuts, pomegranate arils), salad greens, and chicken.
  3. Mix dressing in to coat. Transfer to salad bowl or large plate to serve.


430 cals/serving: 26 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 13 g sugar, 30 grams protein.

Values listed represent a statistical nutritional analysis. There are natural variations that occur in all recipes; these figures may not be exact and are provided for informational purposes only.

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