10 amazingly healthy Autumn salads
Autumn often calls for comfort food – cheesy, creamy, rich, delicious comfort food. Stop right there! With so many vegetables in season right now, such as butternut squash, beetroot and Brussels sprouts, there's no excuse when it comes to whipping up healthy recipes; you just need a little inspiration.
Salads aren't just for summer – yet our Autumnal salads are a far cry from the fresh green salads you've been munching throughout the hotter months. Many of these recipes contain spices, delicious roast vegetables and home-made dressings you'll want to use again and again. They're not only amazingly healthy and packed with nutritious ingredients, they're delicious too, so let's get stuck in!
Finely shred Brussels sprouts for a different take on this classic winter vegetable, and serve with sliced kale (loaded with vitamin C), low-fat turkey bacon, vitamin E and protein-packed almonds and a tangy garlic vinaigrette made with heart-healthy olive oil. What's not to like? This may become our go-to salad of the season. Enjoy it alone or as a veggie side dish with roast chicken.
Quinoa is a complete protein, good news for veggies and vegans (or even if you're a carnivorous sort really). Walnuts really are an amazing ingredient – they're a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy brain function, and are packed with antioxidants. They can even reduce your stress levels and cut your risk of diabetes (1)! Don't peel the apples, as most of the vitamins and minerals are found in the skin. You can use either curly kale or baby kale, but baby kale has a softer texture which lends itself well to salads of this type.
The title of this recipe alone is inspiring us to get cooking, and Yummy Beet's recipe includes sweet dried figs, squash, onion and mixed greens, so it's a great way to get your five-a-day. The salty sharpness of goats cheese and crunch of the walnuts are a winning combo. We love healthy home made salad dressings and this maple syrup, mustard and balsamic vinaigrette has just the right combination of sweetness and acidity.
Kale is such a versatile vegetable and we love including it in salads; it packs a nutritious punch too. We recommend using curly kale for this light salad – basically you're making kale chips with olive oil and spices, then turning them into a delicious salad with the addition of sweet potatoes, apples, bacon and pine nuts. Pomegranate seeds add a pop of vivid colour which makes this salad look really vibrant when served.
This is a bean salad of sorts, and we love beans for their dose of protein and fibre that leaves us feeling satisfied. So this would make a great weekend (or weekday) lunch after a lunchtime workout. It's quick to put together and take with you on-the-go. Kidney beans are a protein powerhouse and they're also packed with soluble fibre to boost heart health, folate acid and antioxidants. They can help stabilise your blood sugar, making them a great choice for diabetics or anyone trying to lose weight healthily. Apples, goats cheese, celery, spinach, red onions, cucumber, pecans and raisins are also included. It's quite a long list of ingredients, so feel free to leave out or sub any you don't like.
Red cabbage is a classic Autumn staple, but don't cook it, serve it raw with a honey, olive oil and white wine vinegar dressing, which brings out the sweetness. Tossed with some red onion, apples, blue cheese and toasted walnuts, this is a great side salad to serve with spicy Cajun chicken but it can be enjoyed as a main dish too.
This light and tasty salad uses fennel, which has a delicious aniseed flavour, making it the ideal side dish to enjoy with salmon or mackerel, both packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Fennel is very low in calories, yet it's packed with vitamin C – 100g of fennel provides you with 20% of your recommended daily intake. It also contains potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure (2). The added crunch of the pistachios and the zesty lemon dressing are the perfect finishing touches.
This sweet, salty and crunchy salad uses cranberries and apples for sweetness, feta cheese for a salty kick and pecans for crunch. Don't forget the kale, our favourite Autumn vegetable. This takes under 15 minutes to prepare, making it great for a healthy quick dinner after a long day at work. The sweet honey and apple cider vinegar dressing is delicious. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and can also help improve digestion and prevent constipation whilst strengthening the immune system (3).
We needed to include a roast veggie salad on our top 10 list for Autumn! Roasting vegetables in olive oil and sea salt brings out their lovely sweetness and gives them a great crunch too. You could use any seasonal vegetables of your choice, but this specific recipe calls for carrots, beetroot and rainbow chard. We love adding butternut squash for a bit of a variety, and this recipe is a great way to eat more vegetables. Heart-healthy olive oil, immune-boosting garlic and sunflower seeds, loaded with vitamin E and B vitamins, top off this delicious dinner perfectly.
You don't have to be vegetarian or vegan to be healthy, so this salad is one for all the meat eaters out there. If you love spicy Mexican and Spanish flavours, this is going to become your salad of the season, and it's impressive enough to make for friends and family too. Spicy, smoky chorizo adds loads of flavour, sweet butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A whilst the antioxidants in the tomatoes help prevent premature ageing. Plus there's spinach, a rich source of iron, pinto beans for fibre and protein and plenty of onions and spices to boost your immune system. It's a really colourful dish and it's one the Expertrain team will be making throughout the season.
There's sure to be a salad (probably more than one) in our top 10 that you're dying to try, but perhaps you have your own favourite Autumnal recipes. We'd love to hear what you think of these recipes, or why not get in touch and share your favourite salad recipes with us? Remember, salads aren't just for summer!
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