Michael and I got a little too excited at Costco last week and bought a huge bag of sweet potatoes and a big container of Jazz Apples. The apples are some of the tastiest I've had all year, and I really wanted to incorporate them into a fall salad with the sweet potatoes. On Saturday we had our moms over for lunch, so we threw this fall harvest salad together.
The sweet potatoes are cut into small cubes and baked on a sheet pan with some quick candied pecans, and the halloumi is pan-fried in just a few minutes. It's all combined with thinly sliced apples, dried cranberries, and a romaine, kale, and spinach mixture, then served with a maple apple cider vinegar dressing. It's so so good and tastes just like fall should.
Here's what you'll need for this fall harvest salad (and how much it'll cost).
- Apples ($2.18). I used two for this recipe, but feel free to add or subtract as you see fit. I used Jazz apples, which are crisp and juicy, with just a hint of tartness. They're the perfect eating apple. Honeycrisp would work really well too, but use whatever apples you have on hand.
- Sweet Potatoes ($1.40). I cut two sweet potatoes into small cubes and roasted them in the oven with some cinnamon. They add a bit more substance to this salad and a lot of nice fall flavor, too.
- Halloumi Cheese ($2.98). Halloumi is made from goat's or sheep's milk and has a high melting point, allowing it to be cooked without melting. It has a mellow tangy flavor and tastes great in this salad. If you can't find halloumi in your local grocery store, queso fresco or paneer can also be pan-fried. Feta has a similar flavor, but you'll miss out on the great texture of the halloumi (the price here reflects queso fresco price because Walmart grocery doesn't carry halloumi).
- Dried Cranberries ($2.64)
- Pecans ($5.68). I use raw, unsalted pecan halves. We use pecans in a lot of stuff, so I buy 2 pound bags at Costco.
- Romaine Lettuce and Spinach or Kale ($1.87). We used a mixture of romaine, spinach, and kale for this salad, but use whatever lettuce you have on hand or enjoy. Something with a bit of a crunch works well!
- Pantry ingredients: Oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, coconut sugar (brown sugar would work as well), cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Excluding the pantry ingredients, this salad costs around $16.75 to make for the first time, or about $2.80 per serving.
You'll have leftover dried cranberries and pecans.
Here's how you could use the leftover ingredients...
- Use the leftover pecans to make our creamy pesto salmon with roasted tomatoes and pecans or our blueberry banana bread muffins.
- We love dried cranberries on salads and in our morning yogurt bowls.
Here's how we make it.
First cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes--the smaller they are, the faster they'll cook. I don't peel mine, but if you don't care for the skin, feel free to peel yours. Coat the sweet potatoes in oil, then toss them in cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Transfer them to a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, I add pecan halves, maple syrup, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon to a bowl and stir to combine. After the 15 minutes is up, I scoot the sweet potatoes to one side of the baking sheet, put the pecans on the other half, and place it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Note: if the sweet potatoes are still hard after 15 minutes, you should place them in the oven for another 5 minutes BEFORE adding the pecans to the baking sheet. The sweet potatoes should be almost done when you add the pecans.
Once the sweet potatoes and pecans are done, I'd recommend transferring the pecans to a plate to prevent sticking.
Next, cut the cheese into small rectangles and pat dry with a paper towel (this will reduce grease splatter). Add oil to a pan over medium-high heat and let it heat up for about a minute. Add the cheese to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom. Then flip the cheese and cook for another 3 minutes on the opposite side. Remove the cheese from the pan and set aside.
To make the dressing, combine apple cider vinegar, oil (I use avocado, but any mellow-tasting oil will work), maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper in a bowl or small jar, then set it aside.
Slice apples into thin slices (chunks would work too if that's more your speed). Add lettuce, dried cranberries, apple slices, sweet potatoes, candied pecans, and halloumi cheese to a large serving bowl and toss to combine. Serve with the dressing and enjoy!