Soup often steals the limelight when it comes to fall comfort food. While we can't deny the allure of dipping a spoon into a bowl of hearty black bean chili or creamy cauliflower bisque when it's 50 degrees outside, we're making a case for expanding your autumn recipe arsenal to include—brace yourself—salad.
If you're skeptical about leafy greens being deemed as comfort food, allow us to present four crazy-delicious fall salad recipes that are hearty, warm, and satisfying. From roast delicata squash atop baby kale to juicy persimmons and sweet cranberries on a bed of mixed greens, they're so good that you'll almost forget it's not tomato season anymore. (Until next year, caprese.)
Ahead are six fall salad recipes you're going to want to make on repeat.
Kale Salad With Pumpkin Seed Clusters
The Recipe: Kale Salad With Pumpkin Seed Clusters
The Standout Ingredient: The pumpkin seed clusters really make this salad. Roasted with cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and a bit of sugar, these clusters are spicy, sweet, and satisfyingly crunchy.
The Pro Tip: Come fall, recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper swears by SweeTango apples. This variety of apple "is the result of a harmonious union between my beloved Honeycrisps (where it acquires sweet honey and citrus notes) and the lesser known, but no less delicious, Zestar variety (which lends a mild tartness, vibrant acidity, and spicy fall notes), making it quite possibly, the perfect apple," says Holly.
Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
The Standout Ingredient: The roasted chickpeas. Simply seasoned with garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, they make a surprisingly flavorful salad topping.
The Pro Tip: This is an easy weeknight meal, but you can easily add this recipe to your weekday lunch rotation, too. "The kale makes this salad perfect to bring to work because it's so hearty," says Teri of Spoon Fork Bacon. "I love to add chicken or tuna to this salad as well for easy added protein," she adds.
Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad
The Recipe: Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad
The Standout Ingredient: The roasted delicata squash rounds, the Honeycrisp apple slices, and the tart pomegranate arils. As the recipe name suggests, this salad lets seasonal fall produce shine.
The Pro Tip: Don't have delicata squash on hand? No problem. You can easily adapt this recipe to use whatever ingredients you have on hand. "One of my favorite things to do on busy nights is cook up a giant batch of quinoa, and then just toss in any fruits/veggies/cheese that I have left in my fridge," says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "I call it my kitchen sink quinoa salad. This here is my fall version, and it's loaded with all my favorite fall produce."
Roast Cauliflower Salad With Eggplant Hummus and Walnut Dukkah
The Standout Ingredient: The cauliflower. Seasoned with olive oil, honey, cumin, and red pepper flakes, the vegetable takes on a delicious, nutty flavor. When topped with tart pomegranate seeds, creamy yogurt, and spicy dukkah, it's transformed into a formidable comfort food.
The Pro Tip: Here's a great trick for removing arils from a pomegranate with little effort. "The easiest way to extract the seeds from the pomegranate is to cut it in half then hold the half over a bowl with the cut side down," advises Sarah of From the Kitchen. "Use a heavy wooden spoon to thwack the back of the pomegranate so that the seeds pop out into the bowl."
Cranberry Roasted Butternut Persimmon Salad
The Standout Ingredient: The persimmons. They're juicy, sweet, and they pair nicely with the crunchy walnuts and the rich, roasted butternut squash.
The Pro Tip: Perhaps the most difficult decision you'll face when making a fall salad is whether to serve it warm or cold. "You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature, but my personal favorite is to keep the greens and persimmons cold and have everything else warm," says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "It's oddly the perfect balance," she adds.
Celery Pear and Hazelnut Salad
The Recipe: Celery Pear and Hazelnut Salad
The Standout Ingredient: The freshly sliced pears. When paired with crunchy hazelnuts, crisp celery, and fragrant fennel, this salad tastes like fall in every bite.
The Pro Tip: Recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper notes that you can "prep all of the components for this salad a day or two ahead of time, and once it's dressed, the celery and fennel will stay crunchy (unlike lettuce)." Making it the perfect make-ahead dish (that travels really well, too), she adds.
This story was originally published on September 2, 2017, and has since been updated.