Harvest Salad with Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)

This Harvest Salad with Chicken is a seriously satisfying dinner salad!

Tender chicken, sweet potatoes, apples, pecans and more are coated in a thick, creamy tahini dressing.

Plus it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly.

whole30 harvest salad in a big white bowl

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Paleo Harvest Salad with Chicken

As soon as the weather starts to get even a little chilly, I start craving a big, hearty salad full of fall produce like sweet potatoes and apples.

So this Harvest Salad with Chicken hits all the right notes – there’s so much texture and flavor.

Plus it’s full of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs to keep you full and energized.

Roasting the sweet potatoes makes them creamy, the apples deliver juicy crispness and the pecans offer a toasty crunch.

To make it feel like even more of a meal, I add chicken for extra protein but you could leave it out for a vegan harvest salad.

Plus, as you’ll see from the ingredient list below, there’s lots of ways to customize it!

 

What you need for a Paleo Harvest Salad with Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium) – you could use winter squash instead, such as butternut, delicata, kabocha, acorn, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika – you can omit both the cumin and paprika if you like, or use other spices instead of or in addition to them, such as coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, etc.
  • 5 oz. leafy greens, such as spinach, chard, arugula, kale or a mix
  • 1.5 pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ cubes – you can use leftover chicken (grilled, baked, etc.) or rotisserie chicken; you could use turkey, pork, salmon or steak instead as well
  • 1 large apple – I like using Fuji or Granny Smith apples, but you can use whatever you like. Pears would also work well here. Just make sure they’re not too ripe – you don’t want a soft, mushy pear in your salad.
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped – use whatever nuts or seeds you like (if using seeds like pumpkin or sunflower, you’ll only need 1/3 cup; using seeds would also make this salad nut-free)
  • 6 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced – you could also use diced red onion or pickled red onion, or omit the onions entirely
  • Tahini Date Dressing – this is my favorite dressing to use with this salad, but you could also use balsamic, honey mustard or other favorite vinaigrettes
  • If dairy is in your life, this salad would be great with goat cheese, feta or blue cheese.

Equipment:

healthy harvest salad in a big white bowl with creamy tahini dressing drizzled over it

How to make Paleo Harvest Salad with Chicken

First, roast the sweet potatoes.

Heat the oven to 425°.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Trim off the dried ends of the sweet potatoes, then cut them into roughly 1/2″ pieces.

Add them to the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, cumin and paprika until evenly coated.

Roast until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool.

Core and chop the apple into 1/2″ pieces. (You don’t want to do this too far in advance or the apple will brown.)

Add the greens, chicken, apple, pecans and scallions to a large bowl. Add the sweet potatoes.

You’ll need about 1/2 cup of dressing – drizzle it over the ingredients and give everything a good toss.

Taste and add more salt or dressing if necessary.

fall chicken salad with spinach, sweet potatoes, apples, scallions and pecans in a big white bowl

Make ahead

Cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before adding to the salad.

The roasted sweet potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The toasted, chopped pecans can be kept in an airtight container either in the fridge or at room temperature for up to a month.

The salad is best eaten immediately.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. The sweet potatoes will soften but everything else should maintain its texture.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Sheet Pan Apple Cinnamon Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. Sweet Potato Salad – 3 ways (Paleo, Whole30)
  3. Sweet Potato, Apple and Sausage Stuffing (Paleo, Whole30)

 

whole30 harvest salad in a big white bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Harvest Salad with Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)

This hearty Harvest Salad with Chicken is a colorful and filling dinner salad! Chicken, sweet potatoes, apples and more are full of textures and flavors. It's especially good with my Tahini Date Dressing (linked below the recipe). Plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
resting time15 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner salad, fried chicken recipe, harvest salad, healthy, paleo salad, whole30 salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 5 oz. leafy greens, such as spinach, chard, arugula, kale or a mix
  • pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 large apple, such as Fuji or Granny Smith
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 6 green onions (scallions), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Tahini Date Dressing (or your favorite dressing)

Instructions

  • First, roast the sweet potatoes: heat the oven to 425°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Trim off the dried ends of the sweet potatoes, then cut them into roughly 1/2" pieces. Add them to the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, cumin and paprika until evenly coated.
  • Roast until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
  • Core and chop the apple into 1/2" pieces. (You don't want to do this too far in advance or the apple will brown.)
  • Add the greens, chicken, apple, pecans and scallions and cooled sweet potatoes to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients and give everything a good toss. You'll need about 1/2 cup of dressing to start with.
  • Taste and add more salt or dressing, if necessary.

Notes

Find my Tahini Date Dressing here.
Substitutions and variations
  • sweet potatoes: you could use winter squash instead, such as butternut, delicata, kabocha, acorn, etc.
  • spices: you can omit both the cumin and paprika if you like, or use other spices instead of or in addition to them, such as coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, etc.
  • chicken: you can use leftover chicken (grilled, baked, etc.) or rotisserie chicken; you could use turkey, pork, salmon or steak instead as well
  • apple: you can use whatever you like. Pears would also work well here. Just make sure they're not too ripe - you don't want a soft, mushy pear in your salad.
  • pecans: use whatever nuts or seeds you like (if using seeds like pumpkin or sunflower, you'll only need 1/3 cup; using seeds would also make this salad nut-free)
  • green onions: you could also use diced red onion or pickled red onion, or omit the onions entirely
  • dressing: you could also use balsamic, honey mustard or other favorite vinaigrettes
  • If dairy is in your life, this salad would be great with goat cheese, feta or blue cheese.
Make ahead
Cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before adding to the salad.
The roasted sweet potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The toasted, chopped pecans can be kept in an airtight container either in the fridge or at room temperature for up to a month.
The salad is best eaten immediately.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. The sweet potatoes will soften but everything else should maintain its texture.

 

 

 

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