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October 10, 2017 | 4 minute read

Harvesting a Fall Salad

This hearty fall salad includes seasonal roasted vegetables with the perfect combination of savory, sweet and spicy ingredients. It’s also packed full of cancer-protective foods including winter squash, Brussels sprouts and chickpeas – all of which are featured in AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer.

The first time I made this salad for a group of carnivores I was met with skepticism that it would be filling enough as a main dish, but the hearty dose of fiber-filled vegetables makes it not only nutritious, but extremely satisfying. The combination of warm roasted vegetables with chilled toppings and crunchy kale chips also enhance the tastiness and texture of the dish.

I like to buy pre-cut butternut squash from the store to make for easier prep. Cut up your parsnip into pieces that are similar in size to the squash. Next, season the heartier vegetables – squash, Brussels sprouts and parsnips – with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Since these vegetables take longer to cook, start by roasting just these ingredients and add the kale and chickpeas later.

While your vegetables are roasting, whisk up the salad dressing and prepare the toppings. You can buy pomegranate seeds on their own, but when pomegranates are in season it’s much cheaper to buy the whole fruit. The trick to getting the seeds out is firmly hitting a spoon on the skin of a halved pomegranate – the seeds will fall out nicely into a bowl without making a mess.

Once the vegetables are about 30 minutes into cooking, remove the baking sheet from the over, stir the vegetables and add the seasoned kale, chickpeas and whole garlic cloves to the sheet. Return the dish to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

The chickpeas will get lightly toasty and the kale will crisp up into kale chips, adding a nice crunch to the salad. Once all the vegetables are roasted, you can compose your salad and add the desired toppings.

One of my favorite things about making salads is that you can easily change up the ingredients to make variations of the same dish exciting every time you make it. This dish would be great with a fried egg on top, yogurt instead of cheese or any other vegetables you have on hand!

What are your favorite fall vegetables?

Salad Ingredients:

1 lb. cubed butternut squash

2 parsnips, peeled and sliced

½ lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced in half

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

6 oz. bag pre-chopped kale

4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 (14.5 oz.) can chickpeas (no salt added)

8 oz bag fresh spinach

2 oz soft goat cheese

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 small ripe avocado, thinly sliced

4 wedges lemon

Maple Vinaigrette:

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Dash of salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Place butternut squash, parsnips and Brussels sprouts in large roasting or baking pan. Drizzle with one-half of olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on rosemary. Spread evenly on pan and roast for 30 minutes.

3. While vegetables roast, toss kale, garlic and chickpeas with remaining olive oil..

4. Make vinaigrette by whisking together ingredients or pulsing in a food processor/blender

5. Once vegetables have roasted for 30 min, remove from oven and stir thoroughly.

6. Add kale, garlic and chickpeas and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until chickpeas are lightly toasted and kale is crispy.

7. Divide spinach among 4 bowls and toss each with ~1 Tbsp vinaigrette.

8. Top with roasted vegetables, a sprinkle of goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, sliced avocado and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving (with 1 Tbsp. dressing): 480 calories, 22 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 16 g protein, 61 g carbohydrate,   15 g fiber, 310 mg sodium

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the Manager of Nutrition and Wellness at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.


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