Autumn Chopped Salad – made with tiny pieces of sweet pear, crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy pecans, sweet and chewy dried cranberries and hearty bacon all tossed and coated with a poppy seed balsamic dressing. A fall favorite salad recipe you’ll love!
Autumn Salad Recipe
Get prepared because this is one of the best salads you’ll ever eat. This salad makes a wonderful accompaniment to any main dish, like my One Pan Garlic Baked Chicken with Mozzarella, and it’s also great for serving a crowd. Perfect for potlucks or that perfect Thanksgiving salad, this is a salad anyone can make. Some simple chopping and mixing and you’re all set.
But, this is not your typical chopped salad recipe. This is a fall salad made with a combination different salad dressings that has a delicious blend of sweet and savory flavors and textures that brings out the flavor in every ingredient. Get ready to take your typical garden salad to the next level!
- Lettuce – I like to use Romaine lettuce, but you can use any type of lettuce you want. Sometimes I finely chop butter lettuce, iceberg lettuce, or green leaf lettuce in with the romaine. Regardless what type of lettuce you use, make sure you chop it into small bite-size pieces.
- Pears – leave the peelings on and dice the pears into bite-sized pieces. The nutrition is in the peels!
- Bacon – I fry up thick cut bacon, but feel free to use turkey bacon.
- Pecans – crunchy and full of fall flavor, you’re going to chop the pecans into bite-sized pieces. Feel free to roast the pecans or add them raw.
- Dried Cranberries – sweet and flavorful, add as many as you want.
- Havarti Cheese – this creamy based cheese easily crumbles and adds the most wonderful texture and flavor.
How to Make Poppy Seed Balsamic Dressing
This poppy seed dressing is easy to make. Simply take a 1/2 cup of bottled poppy seed dressing and mix it with a 1/2 cup of bottled balsamic dressing. Simple. Easy.
How to Make Autumn Chopped Salad
- Cook the bacon – place the strips of bacon in a skillet and cook until crispy in texture. Once the bacon is done cooking, chop with a knife on a cutting board into bite-size pieces.
- Chop the pears – make sure the pears are chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- Chop the lettuce – make sure you have small bite-size pieces. Once chopped, wash the lettuce and drain all the water. No one likes a soggy salad.
- Add Salad Ingredients – in a large bowl, add the chopped lettuce, pecans, pears, bacon, crumbled Havarti cheese, and dried cranberries.
- Pour on the Dressing – take 1/2 cup of your favorite bottled poppy seed dressing and 1/2 cup of your favorite balsamic dressing and place in a bowl with a lid. Shake well and drizzle the poppy seed dressing over the salad. Toss the salad and serve.
And then dig in!
How Long Will the Salad Keep?
This salad is best fresh, so it will only last about 2 days. As for the salad dressing recipe, since you’re just mixing the bottled poppy seed and balsamic together go by the date on the bottle.
Make it Healthier
- If you want to make a healthier version of this recipe, use a lite balsamic and poppy seed dressing.
- Use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon.
- Skip the cheese.
- Use dried cranberries that contain less sugar.
- Lower the fat by using only 1/2 cup of pecans.
Oh…and did I mention that this recipe is gluten free?
I love every ingredient in this wonderful autumn chopped salad. But you can also considered this a winter salad based on all the hearty ingredients. Regardless the season you make this, salad you’re going to love every bite.
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Autumn Chopped Salad
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until done. Once done, place the bacon on a plate covered with a paper towel. Once cooled, chopped the bacon into bite-size pieces.
- Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces and rinse well. Drain the water to ensure the lettuce is completely dry.
- Chop the pears and pecans into bite-size pieces. Crumble the Havarti cheese.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pears, dried cranberries, pecans, bacon and Havarti cheese.
- Mix the Poppy Seed and Balsamic dressing together and drizzle onto the salad. Toss the salad and serve immediately.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2012, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in August 2019.