Why does summer get all the glory where beautiful vegetable dishes are concerned? Frankly, it’s spring and fall when all of the really showstopping crops come to fruition, and yet summer gets all the fun for being the season of salads. And why’s that? Because, bathing suit season? Because, lettuce? Really, lettuce?
Not this year. Just because the weather is getting cooler is no reason not to enjoy some of the brightest stars of September in their most simple but glorious presentation: salads. Pair any of these fall harvest compositions with a nice soup if you crave the warmth. Or, better yet, red wine.
While it might be difficult to prove empirically, I believe fennel is the most underrated of vegetables. Crunchier than even celery, nearly as herbaceous as a bunch of basil, capable of participating as beautifully raw as caramelized, and providing its own dainty garnish, it is past time to get more fennel in your life. Begin with this briny, savory crunchfest, which is as much a meal as it is a conversation piece. Get this Fennel Jicama Salad with Lemon-Pink Peppercorn Dressing recipe.
Before you give in to the lure of sweatpants and relegate sweet potatoes to soups and marshmallow-topped casseroles, give it a little love somewhere that’s green. Here, roasted sweet potatoes and smoked paprika-spiced pecans take the place of bacon in a spinach salad that’s even served warm. Get our Warm Spinach Salad with Smoky Pecans and Sweet Potato recipe.
At once sweet and earthy, if you have never found a beet dish to convince you of its purple majesty, dig this—the beets here are in the sauce. Not beets with tzatziki; beets in tzatziki. Try pickling your own beets for an extra tangy, creamy dressing to apply to a host of other vegetables. Get this Roasted Beet Tzatziki Salad recipe.
Not all the stunners of fall have been incubating below the soil. Some beauties are literally low-hanging fruit, waiting for the precise autumnal chill in which to be plucked to achieve their gently poached destiny. Did I mention the poaching liquid includes red wine? You’ll know what to do with the rest of the bottle. Get our Poached Pear and Blue Cheese Salad recipe.
Brussels have become so ubiquitous, what with their appearances in everything from slaw to risotto, that we’ve forgotten they have a natural season: now. Here they make kale seem positively antiquated as a base for a Caesar. Get this Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad recipe.
Sure, you can enjoy dried figs all year long, but now through October is the time to be seduced by plump, juicy, fresh figs. Their freshness is highlighted by a simple setting of peppery arugula and a sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing. Fall in the Garden of Eden is a glorious time, indeed. Get our Fig and Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing recipe.
Delicata squash is technically a summer squash, though it is traditionally treated as a winter squash, hence: autumn squash. If you have limited your squash intake solely to butternut, acorn, and spaghetti varieties, then you have limited yourself. Get on board with this lovely—and dare I say, delicate—salad with pepitas and ricotta salata. Get our Roasted Delicata Squash Salad recipe.
When I was a child I thought parsnips were merely haunted carrots. As an adult, I still feel that way, so what better vegetable to usher in Halloween season? And since bathing suit weather has kinda officially ended, I’m not one to turn away from recipes with more blue cheese. Get this Parsnip Salad with Grapes, Blue Cheese, and Spiced Pecans recipe.
Related Video: 13 Fall Salads to Memorize This Season