Apple Cider Harvest Salad

This fall-themed salad celebrates the harvest season in all its bounty. A wonderfully flavorful reduced apple cider vinaigrette unites hearty kale, cozy squash, and sweet fall fruits to yield the perfect holiday salad.


For the Dressing

  • 1 c apple cider
  • Optional splash of bourbon
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • Dash of apple cider vinegar
  • Optional dash of maple syrup
  • Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Generous salt and pepper

For the Salad

  • 2 delicata squashes
  • Olive oil for roasting
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • 0.25 c apple cider
  • Large bunch of lacinato kale
  • Small head of radicchio
  • Handful of fresh cranberries
  • Handful of dried figs
  • Handful of pomegranate arils


  1. Add the apple cider (+ optional bourbon) to a saucepan and simmer it until it has reduced significantly, to about a quarter cup. It should be thick and very flavorful.
  2. Remove the cider reduction from the heat. Stir in the mustard, a little dash of cider vinegar, the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme, and generous salt and pepper.
  3. Give your dressing a taste! If you think it needs sweetness, add a tiny bit of maple syrup. If you think it needs more zing, add a bit more cider vinegar and/or salt.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425.
  5. Cut the delicata squashes in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut them into half-inch thick slices. Place them on an oiled baking sheet, add salt and pepper, and roast ~20-25 minutes at 425 until tender and caramelized.
  6. When the squash slices are nearing completion, drizzle them very liberally with apple cider and return them to the oven for five minutes. The squash will soak up the cider and become very flavorful. Important note: don't try to add the cider at the beginning, it will burn because of its sugar content.
  7. Meanwhile, strip the ribs out of the kale leaves, then cut the kale into thin ribbons perpendicular to where the stems used to be. Give the ribbons a good wash in warm water, which helps start the tenderizing process, then drain well.
  8. Put the kale in a large mixing bowl with about half of the dressing. Give it all a very vigorous massage with your hands until the leaves are wilted and tender; it may take several minutes.
  9. Cut the radicchio into ribbons and add it to the kale.
  10. Let it all sit for a few minutes to continue tenderizing in the dressing.
  11. Meanwhile, prep your other salad toppings: cut the cranberries in half, cut the figs into thin slices, and open and clean the pomegranate.
  12. Add about half of the squash and half of the fruit into the salad and toss.
  13. Transfer the salad onto a serving platter and add the remaining squash and fruit on top.