Fall Harvest Salad

Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks! It’s wonderful you’re here today. I have just discovered my new favorite Thanksgiving Side and I want to share it with you. Thanksgiving food… we all have our favorites; perhaps we favor certain dishes more for their nostalgia factor than for how they actually taste. And perhaps we have some truly favorite dishes that we only indulge in at Thanksgiving. Whichever the case may be, this Fall Harvest Salad is a great addition to the Thanksgiving Table.

Most of the Thanksgiving menu consists of brown or neutral colored food. Have you ever noticed that? The cranberry sauce or jello salad being the only items with a pop of color on the table… Well, adding some vivacious green, purple and orange will beckon your eyes and your appetite – a perfect palate cleanser between heavy bites of mashed potatoes, gravy and dressing.

favorite thanksgiving side

How gorgeous is that salad?! All that color and refreshing crispness. Fresh kale, roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts; radicchio, thin slices of Gala apple, toasted pecans and raw red onion. Be still my beating heart! Ok, let’s get started.

raw ingredients

First of all, we prep. Let’s get the oven preheating to 450 degrees. Then, wash the Brussels sprouts and trim them up a bit so they’re a little prettier. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half. I used a Y peeler to peel the butternut and then awkwardly sliced it into semi-even slices.

Time to Roast!

Combine the butternut slices and Brussels in a bowl and add a 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, a good pinch of Kosher salt and pepper. I also added about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Toss to coat the veg in the olive oil and seasoning. Spread them out on a sheet pan and roast for about 20 minutes. I flipped the Brussels sprouts over about halfway through roasting. They’re finished when golden.

raw veggies to roast

Meanwhile, wash the kale and tear the leaves off the stems. You can tear it into bite-sized pieces as you do this. Wash and tear the radicchio into bit-sized pieces as well. Keep the kale and radicchio separate, but set them both aside. Again, a mandoline slicer makes quick work of slicing about half a red onion into thin, even rings. Set the onion slices aside.

Toast those Pecans!

Use one cup of pecans and break them up by hand so they have irregular edges and sizes. Over medium low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet and add the pecans. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of black pepper, a teaspoon of sugar, and an 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Stir pecans in the melted butter until golden and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the pecans from the skillet and let them sit on a paper-towel lined plate while we make the dressing.

whisking dressing

The Dressing

Wipe out the skillet you toasted the pecans in and add: 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (I used a blood orange), 1 small minced shallot, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk to combine as you bring mixture up to a simmer. Then, whisk in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Keep whisking and let the dressing bubble for about one minute and remove from heat. Pour the dressing into a heat proof measuring cup.

massaging kale with dressing

Pour about 1/3 of the hot dressing over the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale to soften the leaves and wilt them slightly. Don’t be afraid to give it a good strong massage!

radicchio leaves

Add the radicchio leaves and mix into the kale with your hands. Thinly slice the Gala apple. The mandoline is great for this too! You can slice the apple whole, then cut the slices in half to remove the core area and create a wedge shape.

prepped ingredients with pecans

Next, we will add the onion and apple slices to the bowl with the kale and the radicchio. Pour on another 1/3 of the dressing and toss with your hands to combine.

adding apples and onions

By now the roasted veggies should be cool enough to handle. We don’t want the butternut to get squished in the tossing and mixing, which is why we add the roasted veggies last. Then, pour the last 1/3 of the dressing over the roasted veg. Gently toss with your hands to combine.

roasted butternut and Brussels sprouts

Now That’s a Fall Harvest Salad!

Pour the salad into a serving bowl and add the pecans. If you like, shave some parmesan over the top.

finished fall harvest salad

This salad has so many levels of flavor. Its mellow sweetness comes from the butternut, bitter notes from the radicchio, a sweet-tart zing from the apple. The olive oil dressing adds a citrusy layer of fat to the kale which is perfectly tender and not at all bitter because we massaged and wilted it with the hot dressing. And don’t forget the slightly spicy crunch from the toasted pecans!

Your New Favorite Thanksgiving Side

I do hope you try this Fall Harvest Salad! It’s definitely going to be on the Djalali Thanksgiving table. If you’re looking for more fall recipe inspiration, check out Saturday’s post: Stuffed Acorn Squash. Give me a follow on Pinterest, facebook and Instagram, and don’t forget you can subscribe to the blog via the subscription box on the sidebar. Thank you all for joining me today, take care and be well. xo Kelly

close up salad

Fall Harvest Salad

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Dinner, Salad American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes

A hearty salad full of color, perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Kale, radicchio, apples and onions are beautifully paired with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts, coated in a warm citrus dressing.


  • Salad
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled and sliced
  • 15-20 Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 2-3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Head Radicchio, leaves torn into pieces
  • 1 Bunch Kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • 1 Gala Apple, thinly sliced wedges
  • 1/2 -1 Medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Toasted Pecans, broken into pieces
  • Parmesan, shaved (optional)
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 Small Shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1.5 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • Pecans
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper


Roasted Veggies


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


Remove outer leaves of Brussels sprouts and trim bottoms, cut in half.


Peel Butternut squash and slice into even pieces.


Place sprouts and squash in a large bowl and toss to combine with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.


Spread in a single layer on a sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.



Wash kale and tear leaves from stems, tearing leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside


Wash radicchio and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside separately from the kale.


Thinly slice red onion into rings. Set aside.



Break up pecans by hand so they have irregular edges and shapes. Over medium low heat, melt butter in a skillet and add the pecans. Add salt, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Stir pecans in the melted butter until golden and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pecans from skillet and set on a paper-towel-lined plate. Set aside.



Pour all ingredients except for the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk in olive oil and keep whisking, let simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and pour dressing into a heat proof measuring cup.



Pour 1/3 hot dressing over kale and massage until kale is tender and slightly wilted.


Add radicchio and toss by hand to combine.


Add apple and onion slices, pour another 1/3 of the dressing and toss by hand to combine.


Add roasted veggies and add last 1/3 of the dressing. Gently hand mix to combine.


Just before serving, add pecans and shaved parmesan.

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  • Suzanne Smith
    November 11, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Oh, I love the roasted veggetables mixed in here. So colorful and good for you, and it looks delicious.

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 11, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Sue! Yes, the roasted veggies make it a meal. Thanks so much for writing in today! xo Kelly

  • JACQUELINE Fechner
    November 12, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Kelly reading from Adelaide Australia so glad you decided to do a blog loved your recipes on Beths blog . Good luck this salad is a great recipe I will be using it soon. Thankyou .

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 12, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      Hello Jacqueline! Thank you so much for your support all the way from Adelaide! Let me know how you like the salad. Take care, xo Kelly

  • Roberta White
    November 18, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I want to make this for Thanksgiving. One guest does not like kale. What would you suggest as an alternative. Love your blog and will look forward to your creative recipes. The format and pictures are great!

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Hello Roberta, Thank you so much! To swap out the kale, my first choice would be to go with Swiss Chard. If your guest doesn’t like chard, try Collard Greens or Mustard Greens. If they are really against the dark leafy greens altogether, you could try Savoy Cabbage. Or, you can get really creative and try Chinese Broccoli or Broccoli Raab. Let me know what you go with and how it turns out– can’t wait to hear about it! Hope that helps…Thanks again, xo Kelly

  • Julie
    November 27, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Kelly, I made this salad yesterday for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a huge hit! I roasted the veggies, prepped the kale, toasted the pecans and made the dressing the day before. While the turkey was resting, I put the roasted veggies in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes to rewarm them, heated the dressing in the microwave, sliced the apple and onion, tore the radicchio leaves, and tossed the salad following your instructions. I will definitely be making this salad again. Thank you for your delicious recipes! The pumpkin cream cheese muffins are amazing, too. I can’t wait to try the Rebel Thanksgiving cheesecake recipe.

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 27, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Julie! That sounds great! I am so happy it was hit. We love that salad! Let me know how the cheesecake turns out for you! Have a wonderful holiday weekend, xo Kelly

      • Judy
        November 29, 2020 at 4:09 pm

        I made this amazing salad to serve with Thanksgiving leftovers using the brussels sprouts and roasted squash from the main day meal and incorporating the kale garnish from around the turkey. The great flavors really brightened up the reheated turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes — so much so that my husband made me promise to add this salad to next year’s main event. I would never have thought to combine these components, but together they are absolutely delicious!

        • Kelly Djalali
          November 30, 2020 at 10:47 am

          Hello Judy, Isn’t that salad amazing! I love how easy it is to customize. It warms my heart that your husband enjoyed it so much to ask for it to be part of the main event next year! Wonderful! Thank you so much for writing in to let me know it was a hit. Have a great week! xo Kelly