When the weather cools, and the leaves begin to change, it doesn’t mean we have to abandon our picnic ambitions. Also, the cooler weather certainly doesn’t mean we have to scratch salads from our fall picnic menus.
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The best fall recipes, fall picnic accessories and tips to make your picnics simply perfect every time.
Best Fall Salads for Picnics
No matter the season, salad is always an easy picnic food, especially when talking about robust, make-ahead salads.
From Harvest Salad recipes to fall quinoa salads and healthy vegan slaws, we've rounded up some of the best autumn salads for your next alfresco spread.
Whether you're packing the picnic backpack with fall-inspired picnic sandwiches for a picnic in the great outdoors or planning an alfresco holiday get-together with friends and family, these fall salads celebrate the spoils of the harvest and make a healthy addition to any fall picnic.
Looking for more vegan salad recipes? We have plenty of those here for you.
Creamy Crunchy Coleslaw Recipe
Coleslaw is one of those all year round picnic salads because it is so versatile. This creamy and crunchy coleslaw recipe lends itself to a fall picnic menu because it is loaded with nuts and seeds, so it's a hearty and comforting coleslaw for cooler weather.
Eat it on its own or for a portable salad or, have it as a crunchy addition to sandwiches or wraps.
Balsamic Roasted Beetroot Salad With Feta & Walnuts
We often sing the praises of beets because it is such a versatile picnic ingredient. If you have roasted beets in the fridge you have a myriad of great picnic dishes on hand. This balsamic roasted beet salad with walnuts and feta is no exception. A deliciously vibrant fall salad idea.
Spiced Pumpkin Quinoa Salad with Walnuts
Nothing says fall salad more than a roast pumpkin salad with walnuts. With only a few ingredients, this delicious roast pumpkin salad with quinoa is bursting with the flavours of the Mediterranean and the Middle East and is so easy to make.
Serve it as a main salad with fresh crusty bread and cheese or as a side to a hot thermos of soup – We have a fabulous fall-inspired soup in our Fall Finger Foods & Appetisers edition.
It also makes a great accompaniment to cold roast meats such as Moroccan spiced lamb or slices of cold roast beef.
Broccoli Potato Salad Recipe With Roast Garlic Vinaigrette
While available all year round, autumn heralds the peak of broccoli season, so what better time to incorporate this nutritious and delicious veg into your picnic salads.
There's also nothing better than a roast potato to warm the soul, even when served cold. Team these pair for a delicious no mayo picnic potato salad.
Easy to make, this roast potato and broccoli salad with roast garlic dressing is a great make-ahead salad that gets better with age.
Serve as the central dish at a fall picnic, as a side to roasted or bbq meats or with antipasto ingredients such as grilled peppers, slow-roasted tomatoes and dips such as a delicious and on point smoked pumpkin hummus.
Roasted Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad
Roasted pumpkin and beetroot tossed in a delicious maple vinaigrette and topped with feta, pine nuts, pepitas and arugula. This hearty salad has all the right seasonal cues, a sweet dressing and lots of crunchy seeds and nuts – it's a perfect make-ahead salad for fall and winter picnics.
Arugula Salad with Parmesan, Pear, and Pecans
I love the simplicity of this salad. Sometimes, the less is more approach to food produces the most delicious dishes. This salad relies on only a few ingredients to make it great. It's also a salad that can easily be put together at the picnic, just pack the ingredients and the dressing and build it alfresco.
Quinoa Beet Salad with Dill & Mustard Seed Dressing
The beauty of beetroot is its versatility, which is why this summer veg is often associated with winter – it stores so well, people have been keeping beets as winter veg for centuries.
Crunchy carrot and vibrant greens with aromatic herbs brighten any fall picnic. Quinoa subtly beefs up the salad so it can stand alone as a picnic main or serve as a side dish.
Much like any slaw style salad, this quinoa beet fall salad also works well topped on a burger, served hot dog style with a quality sausage in a baguette or a wrap with fillings of your choice.
Cauliflower Salad Recipe
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are best for cauliflower, so why not embrace this versatile veg in a nod to the classic potato salad without carbs.
A great make-ahead salad that is also hearty enough to serve as a main.
Fall Harvest Salad
Delicata squash and apple harvest salad with a gorgeously zesty blood orange vinaigrette makes a bold and delicious fall salad statement.
Spinach, arugula, goat cheese, dried cranberries, blood orange and chickpeas make a robust salad foundation for gorgeously caramelised squash and fresh slices of apple.
Serve this salad as a main dish with just crusty bread on the side or team with dips such as a sweet and smoky pumpkin hummus to complete the fall menu theme.
Roasted Persimmon, Asian Pear & Brussel Sprout Salad
Here's a fall side dish that will really wow your picnic companions. It doesn't get much prettier than this ensemble of roasted persimmon, Asian pear, brussels sprouts, and purple daikon radish.
A sweet and savoury medley that takes Brussel sprouts to a whole new place. Best of all, it's not complicated, and there are plenty of ingredient substitutes if you need them.
Fall Panzanella Salad
Panzanella is an Italian salad made mostly of toasted bread croutons. This hearty and wholesome salad can accommodate a wide assortment of seasonal ingredients.
This fall-inspired Panzanella takes on a harvest season flavour profile with apples, cranberries, pecans, and arugula for a seasonal change from leafy greens and root veg. A maple-mustard vinaigrette adds some extra zing.
Fall Harvest Wild Rice Salad
I love the nutty flavours of wild rice. It's got great texture, is very satisfying and extremely good for you, which makes a great salad.
This is no ordinary rice salad (which can be just awful); this seasonal feast adds roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, and almonds in a maple dijon dressing for a super healthy and delicious fall salad. This sweet and savoury, hearty dish is also vegan and gluten-free.
Cranberry Bacon Broccoli Salad
An all year round veg, broccoli really comes into its own in the cooler months. Team these healthy florets with sweet cranberries, salty bacon bits and a light and creamy dressing for a winning picnic salad for fall or winter.
Warm German Potato Salad
Potato salad is one of the most loved picnic salads and there are so many variations. This traditional Warm German Potato Salad is the cool weather comfort food of champions. With warm tender potatoes, bacon and onions in a vinaigrette dressing, this no mayo potato salad may not be entirely healthy but it's incredibly good.
Butternut Squash, Pecan & Quinoa Salad
Roasted butternut squash combined with quinoa, pecans, baby kale, green onions, sweet bursts of pomegranate arils finished with a tangy, sweet apple cider maple dressing.
This colourful salad bursting with flavour and unique textures is what fall would be like if it was a dish.
Healthy Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
Chicken salad is one of those underrated salads that often gets left behind in the wake of leafy superfoods, pulses, and grains.
The beauty of chicken salad is it is so easy to make, can be used in a variety of different ways - also think wrap or sandwich filling, and it can be adapted to match the season.
Using Greek yoghurt for the dressing makes a healthy change from mayonnaise and cranberries, apples and pecans not only give the salad great texture, but they also add a delicious fall profile to the salad.
Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Pecans and Orange Vinaigrette
Fall really is the time you should be enjoying pecans. It's when they are at their best, especially in a salad. What makes this roast pumpkin-based salad with sweet bursts of pomegranate different is not just the sweet and salty toasted pecans that give it an incredible crunch.
Using kale as the foundation makes it a fantastic make-ahead salad cause kale loves a good soak in a citrusy vinaigrette. But also, the addition of salty bacon bits give it an extra burst of flavour that will make this salad a fall favourite.
Lemon Asparagus Salad
Hats off to the make-ahead salad. Asparagus makes a very forgiving salad foundation especially when paired with olives, tomatoes, a hint of blue cheese and the freshness of lemon.
A great bbq companion, this salad also makes a great side to Charcuterie boards as it compliments strong cheeses and cured meats. It's also the perfect salad from stong smoked fish such as smoked salmon.
Lightly blanched asparagus will do well with a soak in vinaigrette so it can be made well in advance of your picnic or bbq.
Bacon, Blue Cheese & Pecan Spinach Salad
So easy to make, this salad is a real crowd-pleaser. Using only a few quality ingredients is what makes this salad so good, full of bold flavours and crunch. Often, it is in the simplicity of a dish where the magic happens.
Bacon, blue cheese, and pecans on robust baby spinach finished with an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing – it's as simple as that. Perfect as a main picnic dish or as a side, this delicious salad will hold it's own at a fall picnic bbq or a fancy fall garden party.
Rainbow Slaw with Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing
The stand out with this gorgeous picnic salad is not so much about the vegetables you use but the fresh and zesty tahini spin on a traditional coleslaw dressing.
Embrace the season with this coleslaw as long as you opt for bright and robust veg and fall is the perfect season for such veg. Think bright peppers, beets, carrots, apples and cabbage with a finish of fresh cilantro.
A versatile salad, this fall-inspired slaw also works well as a wrap or sandwich filler or a fresh finish to pulled pork.
Vegan Fall Harvest Salad with Kale and Pumpkin
A big bowl of delicious harvest veggies come together to make a nutritious and wholesome fall harvest salad.
Crunchy kale, sweet pumpkin, tart Brussel sprouts, crisp apples and pomegranate seeds with delicious homemade maple-mustard dressing.
Loaded with fibre and plant-based protein, this harvest salad is a healthy and delicious make-ahead salad for any fall picnic or holiday gathering.
Fresh and Quick Fall Salad (Salada de Abobrinha)
A fresh fall twist on the Brazilian Salada de abobrinha — a salad typically prepared with cooked zucchini tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.
This version uses fresh zucchini and yellow squash, baby arugula, shredded purple cabbage, edible flowers (optional) and pepitas dressed with an orange vinaigrette.
It is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, bringing together different textures, flavours, shapes, and colours in one beautifully delicious and aesthetically pleasing fall salad.
Wild Rice Chicken Salad with Cranberries
Take a deliciously fall inspired chicken salad with cranberries and almonds and give it extra oomph with the addition of wild rice. With a creamy dijon dressing, this chicken salad makes a great side, a wonderful filler for wraps and is especially picnic portable served in easy to eat lettuce cups.
Healthy Vegan Waldorf Salad Recipe
You won't find a more seasonal fall salad than the Waldorf Salad which brings together late summer and early autumn flavours.
For a healthy alternative to the classic creamy dressing, this vegan take on the classic Waldorf salad uses a deliciously creamy apple cider vinegar dressing instead of mayonnaise for a lighter and fresher version.
Because eating seasonal is always best, this vegan Waldorf is a fabulously healthy salad for any fall picnic menu.
Marinated Lentil Salad with Tangy Dressing
Tangy lentil salad with sun-dried tomatoes and green onions has vibrancy and bite. Protein-packed lentils make it satiating, while red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard give it a punch of flavour.
Light but filling, this salad can be adapted to so many other picnic dishes. Fill a pita or flatbread and heap on some hummus. Scoop it into lettuce cups or load it in the bottom of a Mason Jar salad and top with fresh veg.
Another great make-ahead salad, this fall salad will keep in the fridge for about a week so you can make a batch and use it throughout the week with so many dishes beyond your picnic.
Cannellini Bean Tuna Salad Recipe
We did say beans should be the hero of the picnic salad. With endless varieties of legumes to choose from, many of which can be found in your pantry, there's no reason not to experiment.
Take this Cannellini Bean Tuna Salad recipe drizzled with a delicious Lemon-Caper Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you have an explosion of flavour.
A fantastic picnic side, it can also hold its own as a hearty main course salad.
How to Keep Food Cold at a Picnic
Need to keep your fall salads cold? We have all the know-how for keeping your picnic food fresh and crisp, even in the cooler months.
How to Keep Food Warm for a Picnic
Planning on including hot food in your fall picnic menu? We have the know-how for that too. You can find simple solutions for keeping food warm for a picnic here.