Roasted squash, crunchy apples and dried cherries add seasonal freshness to this autumnal cobb salad, dressed in a spiced apple cider vinaigrette and topped with candied walnuts.
It’s that time of year where I’m either straddling the urge to pull out my chunky sweaters and hunker down with ooey gooey comfort food, or dig in my heels and cling to the straggling bounty of summer and all the freshness it holds.
Yesterday I was debating what to share here on the bloggity blog so I took to Facebook and Instagram and asked what you wanted to see.
“🔜 I’m working on tomorrow’s recipe post. Would you rather see a weeknight chicken pasta 🍗🍝 or a decadent fall-inspired salad 🌽🍅? Getting fresh pickings and loving fall’s bounty at the farmer’s market.”
Your comments, clicks and likes overwhelmingly say you’re in the same camp I am. Long live the salad! So at your request, I present a fall-inspired leafy beauty that will con any non-salad eater into giving the greens a go with the tease of chicken, bacon and eggs and more.
This started out as a simple salad. And then as things tend to go in my world, it quickly escalated to a full blow affair.
Butternut squash? Sure! But let’s add acorn squash too just to be sure.
Crisp apples sliced so thin you can eat 4 or 9 at a time? You bet. But lets add even more bite with crunchy nips of celery ribs. I’ve been consumed with celery lately. I never expected that!
Romaine lettuce as our bed? Sounds good, but let’s pile onto the plushness with arugula and radicchio, too.
Bacon? Eggs? Avocado, chicken and cheese? Of course they’re all there because they’re Cobb classic.
But just for fun let’s toss in some sweetness with dried cherries and candied walnuts. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dessert with their salad?
About the Recipe
Don’t be afeared of the length of this grocery list. This salad is a true mix and match, making best of what’s in the fridge to pull from the depths of the crisper and moving along accordingly.
Got corn? Zucchini? Pears or peaches? Any of these flavor makers would pair swimmingly with what we have going on here.
I made up for the sheer number of flavors by drizzling this salad with a simple 3-ingredient dressing that just happens to echo my favorite flavor of fall. Spiced apple cider!
There’s a bit of roasting to do and of course there’s chopping. But really this salad comes together fast.
The most sensitive part of this recipe is when preparing the candied walnuts, and so long as you don’t leave the room to go change the laundry and then get side tracked when you quickly look up to see if Mercury is in retrograde because all of your electronics are going full-on spastic and stroking out, you should be in good shape.
Not that I’d know anything about that. (Sadly, my iMac’s hard drive and I do. Always back up your files people!)
This salad is a meal preppers dream.
Nearly all of the ingredients for this salad can be prepared at once and assembled as your week progresses. Roast your squash and chop your cheese and celery. Hard boiled eggs can be cooked, cooled and peeled. Cook and dice your chicken, fry the bacon and candy that nut. Then simply bag individual portions and toss together with your already chopped and portioned salad greens when ready to eat. The only last minute additions will be slicing your apple and avo.
I originally made this for lunch, and then we had it for dinner too. It’s the salad that just keeps on giving. And man, how I like that.
- ½ acorn squash, seeded and peeled then cut into ¾-inch pieces
- ½ small butternut squash, seeded and peeled then cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 cup walnut halves
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup spiced apple cider
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 6 cups mixed salad greens, such as romaine, radicchio and arugula
- 4 sliced cooked bacon, chopped
- 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 baked chicken breast, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled and pitted then thinly sliced
- 1 apple such as Gala or honey crisp, cored and thinly sliced
- ¾ cup white cheddar cheese, chopped
- ½ cup dried cherries
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the acorn squash on one side of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and the butternut squash on the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, stir together 1½ tablespoons water and the brown sugar in a non-stick pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture slightly thickens then add the walnuts and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the sauce reduces and the nuts become fragrant. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with kosher salt. Separate the nuts with a fork and cool.
- In a small jar, combine the vegetable oil, spiced apple cider, Dijon mustard and season with kosher salt and pepper. Shake the jar until well combined and emulsified. Taste for seasoning and add more apple cider to taste.
- In a large bowl, add the salad greens. Top with rows of bacon, hard boiled egg, chicken, celery, avocado, apple, cheddar cheese, dried cherries and candied walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.
Thanks for stopping by, and you know what they say, “Get in the kitchen and cook something good!”
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