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.
We almost never eat salad for dinner at home, but since a classic Cobb Salad 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.
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.
- 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.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs. A delicious, protein-rich salad addition. This Instant Pot Boiled Eggs recipe is an easy way to make them.
- 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.
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.
- Prep the toppings: Roast the squash. Cook and dice the bacon. Peel and slice the hard boiled eggs. Cook the chicken.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- 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!
- 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.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. You’ll need this and an oven-safe baking rack for baking the bacon.
- Indoor Grill Pan. If you choose to follow my easy Grilled Chicken Breast, this pan works great for the stovetop.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The easiest way to check your chicken for doneness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turn this into harvest salad with pears. Yum!
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 Chicken, Instant Pot Chicken, or How to Cook Shredded Chicken on the stovetop
To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the chicken and bacon.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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