Autumn Salad:
A Healthy Treat Come Fall

I love this Autumn salad! I make it for Thanksgiving dinner because it combines all the beautiful flavors of the fall season. The earthy sweetness of maple syrup and yummy dried figs go nicely with the peppery arugula. It’s balanced out with some tart lemon juice in the dressing and strong parmesan cheese.

This salad is one of my favorites to make as a starter for vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner but I also make it for a light dinners or to go along with the denser squashes so prevalent in the fall.

To me, starting off a huge feast with a salad is like buckling your seatbelt in a car. You just need to do it for health and safety’s sake. Health because the nutrients in salad greens will help keep your body in peak condition to digest all those heavy things you’re about to eat. Safety because the fiber in lettuce will help prevent totally gorging yourself on the rich dishes. (Okay, maybe not totally but it will help.)

You really don’t need any health justifications to eat this Autumn salad though because it’s tasty and delicious all on its own.

Ingredients for Autumn Salad

  • arugula
  • dried figs
  • candied pecans
  • parmesan cheese
  • vinaigrette dressing (see recipe below)

Ingrdeients for Autumn Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Combine salad dressing ingredients and whisk until blended Pour dressing over washed arugula leaves. Toss with clean hands, massaging the dressing into the greens.
  2. Slice dried figs in half or quarters depending on the size.
  3. Add half of your figs, pecans and a bit of parmesan, then toss lightly again just until incorporated.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of your figs and candied pecans on top of bed of greens.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler, make some pretty parmesan cheese shavings; arrange on top.

I used to think the change of the weather which brings earlier nights and cooler days meant saying goodbye to salads but thankfully arugula hits the sweet spot in the fall. It can be harvested most times of year but the it’s said that the heat amplifies the falvor.

As this delightful leafy green is already quite flavorful on its own, the milder spring and fall versions are more pleasing to most people. That way you can get the wonderful spiciness and peppery tastes without overwhelming the other items you’re serving. So dig in! It’s the perfect time to enjoy this salad!

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