Forget the wimpy salads that leave you hungry and wishing you’d ordered the burger. Harvest Salad salad is super-loaded to satisfy and sustain. It combines some of the best salad toppings in life (bacon and avocado, I’m looking at you) with chicken, cheese, and other yumminess, then tosses them together in a lively vinaigrette.

A wooden bowl with a fall harvest salad recipe

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We almost never eat salad for dinner at home, but since a Cobb is the one-and-only salad that Ben considers “real food,” I decided to make a version of it for our main meal.

I kept the Cobb essentials—bacon, chicken, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs—then incorporated a few of my favorite fall ingredients to give the salad a harvest twist.

  • Alongside the classic Cobb ingredients, today’s Cobb has roasted butternut squash, apples, cranberries, and toasted pepitas.
  • I swapped the blue cheese for goat cheese, then topped it off with a creamy cider Dijon dressing.

It’s undeniably delicious and will turn your lunch hour from drab to absolutely FAB.

Harvest salad with apples, avocado, and butternut squash

The play of flavors and textures in this Autumn harvest salad is outstanding.

We have the crunchiness of the bacon and pepitas, the creaminess of the avocado and goat cheese, the satisfaction factor of the chicken and eggs, plus the sweetness and chew of the cranberries.

I happily devoured this autumn-inspired Cobb for lunch and dinner on the same day.

In addition to being a salad that satisfies, this winter harvest salad recipe feels special enough to grace a holiday table (Thanksgiving Cobb salad anyone?).

5 Star Review

“Delicious! All of the different flavors and textures blended together perfectly for an awesome fall Cobb salad. We will definitely make again. The dressing was perfect for this salad.”

— Teresa —

How to Make Harvest Salad

Hearty and full of seasonal flavors, this fall harvest salad recipe is a meal everyone at your table will love!

The ingredients are simple and healthy, so you can feel good about enjoying this tasty salad on repeat.

Cobb salad is not difficult, but because there are a lot of components, it’s more time consuming. For a faster seasonal salad, check out this Winter Salad and this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad.


The Ingredients

  • Mixed Greens. Romaine, spinach, arugula, or baby kale (or a combination of these) will work well for this salad.
  • Butternut Squash. My go-to veggie in the fall. Once roasted, butternut squash has a wonderfully sweet, caramelized flavor. Plus, it’s rich in vitamins and fiber.
  • Bacon. Crispy bacon pieces are a foolproof way to make any salad a crowd-pleaser.

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

Forget messy pan frying. The best way to make crispy bacon for salads, sandwiches, or to enjoy on its own is in the oven or air fryer. See Baked Bacon and Air Fryer Bacon for step-by-steps.

  • Hard-Boiled Eggs. A delicious, protein-rich salad addition.
  • Chicken Breast. Cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast is my favorite way to bulk up a salad in a healthy way. It adds lean protein and heartiness.
  • Apple. Sweet, crisp, refreshing, and healthy. Apples are packed with fiber and vitamin C.
  • Avocado. Since this is a twist on a Cobb salad, we can’t forget the avocado. It helps make the salad satisfying.

Tip!

In addition to tasting delicious with fall-flavored ingredients, avocado works well with ingredients year-round. For a summer harvest salad with avocado, check out my Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad.

  • Cranberries. For beautiful color and sweetness.
  • Goat Cheese. Creamy, tangy goat cheese is marvelous with the fall flavors in this salad.
  • Pepitas. Nutty and crunchy.
  • Dijon Cider Maple Dressing. With apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup, this dressing is light, bright, and sweet. It’s flavorful but allows the other ingredients to shine.
Autumn harvest salad in a wooden bowl

The Directions

  1. Prep the toppings: Roast the squash. Cook and dice the bacon. Peel and slice the hard boiled eggs. Cook the chicken.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Place the greens in a bowl, and top with the squash, bacon, chicken, eggs, and apple. Add the dressing and toss. Finish with avocado, cranberries, goat cheese, and peptias. DIG IN!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.

Meal Prep Tip

  • This salad has a lot of components, but most can be made in advance. The butternut squash, bacon, eggs, and chicken can all be prepared 2 days in advance. The dressing can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to serve, let the chicken, squash, and bacon come to room temperature, then assemble the salad as directed. If possible, wait to add the apple and avocado until right before serving, so that they don’t turn brown.
Harvest salad ingredients in a bowl

What to Serve with Harvest Salad

This autumn salad is delicious on its own or served with a festive cocktail, crusty bread, or a cozy fall-flavored soup.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Instant Read Thermometer

Whenever I’m working with meat, seafood, or even breads, an instant read thermometer is my go-to method for making sure things are cooked through.

Harvest Cobb Salad. A fall twist on classic Cobb salad with butternut squash, bacon, apples, and goat cheese. Chicken and avocado make it healthy and filling. Perfect as a main dish salad or for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime you need a great holiday side dish. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Substitute for the Apples?

Turn this into harvest salad with pears. Yum!

How Should I Cook the Chicken?

My favorite choice for this fall Cobb salad is Grilled Chicken Breast. I love the smoky flavor it adds. However, the salad will be equally delicious if you choose to follow my Baked Chicken Breast or Air Fryer Chicken Breast recipes instead.

For those who prefer shredded chicken on their harvest salad, you can also follow my easy methods for Crock Pot Shredded ChickenInstant Pot Chicken, or How to Cook Shredded Chicken on the stovetop

How Can I Make Vegetarian Harvest Salad?

To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the chicken and bacon.

What Can I Substitute for Goat Cheese?

If you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, you can substitute it with an equal amount of feta cheese or a mild blue cheese, such as gorgonzola.

Harvest Cobb Salad. A fall twist on classic Cobb salad with butternut squash, bacon, apples, and goat cheese. Chicken and avocado make it healthy and filling. Perfect as a main dish salad or for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime you need a great holiday side dish. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Harvest Salad

5 from 3 votes
Harvest Salad is a fall twist on everyone's favorite Cobb Salad: butternut squash, apples and cranberries with bacon, avocado and chicken, tossed in an easy cider dressing.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 58 mins
Total: 1 hr 13 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

FOR THE COBB SALAD:

  • 1 small butternut squash about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cups mixed greens such as Romaine, spinach, arugula, or baby kale (about 20 ounces)
  • 1 sweet crisp apple such as gala or honeycrisp, cored thinly sliced (no need to peel)
  • 2 ripe avocados sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese about 2 ounces
  • 1/3 cup toasted pepitas pumpkin seeds

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook the squash: Place over racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread squash cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake the squash until tender and caramelized, 15-20 minutes, turning once throughout. Set aside.
  • Bake the bacon: Place an ovenproof baking rack on a second baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, then arrange the bacon slices on the rack in a single layer. Place on the second rack in the oven with the squash. Bake until the bacon is as crisp as you like, about 12-20 minutes depending upon the thickness of your bacon. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry. Dice and set aside.
  • Hard boil the eggs: In a small pot, bring just enough water to cover the eggs to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently lower the eggs in with a slotted spoon. Bring water to a low, rumbling boil, then let cook for 9 minutes. A few minutes before the eggs are finished cooking, prepare an ice bath. Remove the eggs from the boiling water and plunge into the cold water. Let rest a few minutes, then tap the eggs with back of a spoon to crack them (this will make peeling easier). Return to the ice water to cool completely. Peel the eggs, then cut into slices. Set aside.
  • Cook the chicken on the grill (my fav!), in the oven, or in the air fryer. (For shredded chicken options, see the notes section below.)
  • Make the dressing: In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Add the butternut squash, bacon, chicken, eggs, and apple. Drizzle with the dressing, toss gently to coat. Scatter the avocado, cranberries, goat cheese, and pepitas over the top. Enjoy!

Notes

  • TO MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN: Use my easy method for Crock Pot Shredded Chicken, Instant Pot Chicken, or How to Cook Shredded Chicken on the stovetop. 
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: The butternut squash, bacon, eggs, and chicken can all be prepared 2 days in advance. The dressing can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. Store items individually in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, let the chicken, squash, and bacon come to room temperature, then assemble the salad as directed. If possible, wait to add the apple and avocado until right before serving, so that they don’t turn brown.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 751kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 33gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 237mgPotassium: 1256mgFiber: 6gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 19580IUVitamin C: 58mgCalcium: 186mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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23 Comments

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  1. Ohhhh, this is so pretty! I bet the flavour is spectacular. I’m in Canada, so we’ve already had Thanksgiving, but I’m definitely making this for my in-laws the next time we visit them – it looks too good to pass up!

  2. This looks and sounds so good! I think it would even make a great breakfast or brunch meal. :) I mean it does contain egg and bacon. Yum.

  3. This is weird for me to say, but I’ve honestly never had Cobb Salad because I don’t eat bacon so I just never thought to try it! But I guess there is such a thing as having it without bacon…did I think of that? Nope. ;) This looks too good not to try!

  4. Way to make an already good salad even better with a fall spin!  This salad is drool-worthy :)

  5. hey girl this looks amazing! Yummy! I love the salad bar at Jason’s Deli! It is so delish! Do you have one of those up there? They have all kinds of sandwiches to.

  6. I realize that this is off topic, but I thought I remembered that you had asked if anyone had Inas’ new cookbook…I do and it’s really a nice one. I have 3 other ones of hers and I always like the narratives she includes. This one is exceptional in that respect. You really get a feel of how hard she tried in the beginning to “become a cook”. She clearly has succeeded; every recipe of hers that I try is wonderful. I’m done blabbing now but want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Thanks for chiming in about Ina’s newest cookbook, Chris! We are in total agreement about how wonderful she is. :) I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

  7. I made this for dinner tonight and it was great! The dressing is absolutely perfect. We all loved it. It was nice because I could keep everything separate for my kids (ages 4.5, 3, 21 months) and they gobbled it up! Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

    1. I am so happy to hear how much you and your kids loved this recipe Jennifer! Thank you so much for trying it and for taking time to stop by and leave this wonderful review. I really appreciate it!

  8. My husband is so happy I found this blog!  You share many of my food obsessions–bacon, winter squash, sweet potatoes, maple, salads–but your inventions are so much better than mine! This is another great recipe. I didn’t include the cheese (I forgot to buy it), and at the last munute, I decided to leave out the avocado, which suddenly seemed like gilding the lily. No idea what I missed, but the resulting salad was wonderful. The dressing alone is a winner. Thanks, Erin!5 stars

    1. Eileen, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the salad! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for taking the time to make the recipe and share how it went.

  9. Delicious! All of the different flavors and textures blended together perfectly for an awesome fall cobb salad. We always have chicken breasts and hard boiled eggs in the fridge and I had some butternut squash in the freezer, so this wasn’t too intensive. We made BLTs last night and saved some bacon, which made for a quick assembly for dinner tonight. We will definitely make again. The dressing was perfect for this salad. Don’t skip the goat cheese, yummmmm!5 stars