Why not make a NEW tradition by bringing a lighter, yet festive Fall Harvest Salad to the family Thanksgiving table?

Guest Post: Saint Louis University Dietetic Intern Janie Pérez

Imagine what you would feel like if you put some nutrient-dense ingredients in your body on Turkey Day to balance the rest of the normally heavy meal. We’ll let you in on a secret: you will feel 5x better! The foods and amounts of foods we put in our bodies are important every day of the year. Including the holidays! Adding a seasonal salad, like this Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Dressing, to this year’s Thanksgiving spread will not only balance out some of those traditionally heavier turkey day dishes but will help you fill up your body with feel-good nutrients! And, importantly, it will add some gorgeous pops of color to the table and your plate.
woman holding a plastic container filled with salad

McDaniel Short-Cut Recipe: Fall Harvest Salad

If you’re in charge of your holiday meal, you’re likely looking for a few cut and paste easy recipe ideas. This is that. To cut prep time in the kitchen on this busy cooking day, here are some short-cuts in this recipe. Choose:

  • Bagged salad (Purchase your favorite lettuce mix!)
  • Pre-cut butternut squash (Can sub sweet potatoes)

dole sunflower crunch salad
These things will save lots of time rinsing, drying, and chopping the lettuce and cutting an entire butternut squash. It’s the ideal side dish to your turkey and hearty enough to call it a weeknight meal…cause you still gotta eat the rest of the week…
HAPPY TURKEY DAY! And remember:
Enjoy time with your loved ones, enjoy all the special foods, be mindful of listening to your body, relax, and if you’re able, take time to move your body in some way – whether it’s a walk before and/or after your meal, a jog or bike ride in the morning, yoga, or whatever you find joy in.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
woman holding a plastic container filled with salad

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel



For the Pumpkin Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/2 c. plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/4. c. tahini paste
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. maple syrup
  •  c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 –1/2 c. water to thin – as needed

For the Salad:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • Olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt for roasting

Salad Ingredients 

  • 2 apples, medium-sized dice
  • 1/2 c. toasted pecans
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries
  • 1314 ounces bagged lettuce (options: mixed salad greens, a broccoli/cabbage/kale slaw, shaved brussels sprouts, any other cole slaw mix) *Sunflower Crunch is 13.6 oz.



  1. Using an immersion blender or blender, blend all dressing ingredients together. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Butternut Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place chopped squash in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon and salt to your liking. Toss to coat.
  3. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, until soft and caramelized, flipping halfway through. If you prefer a crispier outside, cook for longer.

Salad Assembly:

  1. Once the squash has cooked and cooled, place in a large salad bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add desired amount of Pumpkin Tahini dressing and toss gently.


If you like a lot of “green” in your salad, use 2 bags of pre-packaged salad greens.