Fantastic Seasonal Foods and Salad Ideas for the Fall

Susan Hoff
September 18, 2023

There are a variety of healthy fall fruits and vegetables for gardeners to get excited about.

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All over the country and the rest of the northern hemisphere summer is beginning to fade. Although it’s still sunny and warm in California, I know that it’s time to start thinking about the new fruits and vegetables in season and how I can incorporate more of them into my everyday diet.

Personally, I love gardening and am excited to take advantage of the unique fruits and vegetables coming into season. This is a great time to start planting them! Fall fruit and veg thrive in the cooler temperatures and shorter days beginning in September and carrying on throughout the rest of the season. Yes, I’m sad to see summer go, but this time of year comes with the incredible opportunity to enjoy fresh food and incorporate seasonal crops into fresh salad ideas for fall. They not only enhance our gardens with vibrant, rich colors and leafy greens but also provide increased health benefits by diversifying our diets.

Healthy Fall Vegetables:

Kale: go crazy with salads, soups and more

If the kale you’ve tried in the past was hard and sour, it wasn’t harvested at the right time! This hardy, leafy green is a fall superstar. Its robust leaves become sweeter after a light frost, making it perfect for salads, soups, crispy kale chips, or other fall food recipes. Plus, hand-massaging it with salt, olive oil, and a little bit of lemon juice softens it up to create an incredible and easy side salad!

Broccoli, the superstar of cruciferous vegetables

While yes, broccoli is available year-round at the store, it’s officially coming into season now! Broccoli is a versatile cruciferous vegetable that thrives in the cooler fall weather. Gardeners can harvest the central head and enjoy the side shoots as they continue to grow.

Carrots: the perfect addition of flavor

Gardeners can plant carrots in late summer and still reap a sweet and crunchy fall harvest. This is the perfect vegetable for fall and winter as its earthy flavor adds depth to soups, stews, and roasted dishes.

Spinach, the most famous of leafy greens

If the conditions are right, spinach grows like a weed! Widely known by gardeners for its rapid growth, spinach is an excellent choice for a fall garden. Its tender leaves are great for salads and sautéed dishes and are a fabulous source of protein. 

Brussels Sprouts aren't only for Thanksgiving!

You don’t have to save Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving or Christmas! They make a great side dish for any occasion and have high amounts of vitamin C - I know, it surprised me, too!

Healthy Fall Fruits:


Yes, apples are also available year-round, but they’re at their most delicious in fall! They are perfect for snacking, baking into pies, or making homemade applesauce or apple juice. Find the best apples at your local farmer’s market.


Another great fruit to source from your local farmer’s market, pears come in a variety of flavors and textures. This is a great time to try a few different kinds! Eat them fresh or use them in desserts like tarts and cobblers.


Grapes are one of my favorite fall fruits - and not just because I’m in the wine industry! They make a great topping on salads or even chicken salad sandwiches. 


This is another fall food that you don’t have to save for Thanksgiving! Yes, cranberry sauce is delicious, but try baking them into muffins, or adding them to salads for a burst of flavor and something new. They’re considered to be a superfood for their high antioxidant and nutrient content.

If you don’t have the space to grow some of these fall fruits and vegetables yourself, I always recommend making a stop at your local farmer’s market instead of bigger brand-name grocery stores. That way, you know that all of the produce is fresh, seasonal, and ripe.

My Favorite Salad Idea for Fall… Autumn Harvest Quinoa Salad!


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked and water is absorbed. Let it cool.
  1. Steam the broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts until tender-crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve their vibrant colors. Drain.
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine cooked quinoa, kale, steamed vegetables, diced apple, grapes, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Drizzle this dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

This is one of my all-time favorite fall salads because it’s high in nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and protein. If you would like to add even more protein, it goes very well with a pan-seared chicken breast, making it an ideal fall lunch or healthy fall dinner idea!

Looking for a delicious homemade drink to go with your fall salad? Check out our guide to fermenting your own homemade, vitamin-rich soda. Or take a look at our blog for more healthy recipe ideas.

Oath & Grind By Susan Hoff
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