harvest salad with chicken, apple, goat cheese, toasted herbed quinoa, and a cider dressing

If you want to know what we’ve been eating the past two months, this is it. I guess you could say this salad has been stealing the show since it’s almost Halloween and I have yet to make a “quintessentially fall” recipe like chicken pot pie or a cozy soup (gasp!). However, I’ll confess that I am most excited to make this salad with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, which was actually in my original recipe (instead of chicken), but I became impatient waiting around for grocery stores to carry fresh turkey. Also, if you are like me and have more apples than you know what to do with, then (a) congratulations, you are “doing fall” correctly, and (b) salads are a great way to use them up before they go bad. I hope you enjoy this tasty fall salad; the apple cider dressing is my new favorite!


serves: 4 as a main dish, more as a side

toasted herbed quinoa (see below)
1.5 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts*
several sprigs each of thyme and rosemary**
1 cup apple cider
apple cider dressing (see below)
8 oz mixed greens
handful or two of fresh chives and oregano, chopped**
1 large apple, diced (I like using honeycrisp or pink lady)
6-8 oz goat cheese, crumbled

toasted herbed quinoa:
1 cup quinoa, uncooked (I use tri-color and heirloom quinoa but any kind will work)
2 cups broth of any kind (I use chicken)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder or granules
1.5 teaspoons onion powder or granules
8 tablespoons mixed herbs, chopped** (I used a blend of chives, oregano leaves, and thyme leaves)
salt and freshly ground pepper

apple cider dressing:
1/2 cup toasted walnut oil***
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced shallot
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Make your toasted quinoa: Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth to a simmer in a medium pot, stirring occasionally. After the quinoa has absorbed all the broth (approximately 20-25min), remove from heat. Add (to the same pot) olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix together well and then spoon onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer. If you don’t have a rimmed baking sheet, use your largest baking dish, maybe even two baking dishes so the quinoa remains in a thin layer so it can get crispy. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until toasted and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool. Adjust oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook your chicken: Add the chicken breasts to a baking dish (choose a dish that is just barely big enough to fit the chicken in a single layer) and season with salt. Add 1 cup apple cider and several sprigs each of thyme and rosemary. Bake for 30 min at 400 degrees F or until the center of the chicken is no longer pink and internal temp reads 165 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let the chicken sit for a 10-15 minutes, then shred it into bite sized pieces.
  3. While your chicken is cooking, make your dressing by whisking all dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl or shaking all ingredients together in a jar.
  4. Assemble: Add the hearty greens to a large bowl and toss with the chopped chives and chopped oregano. Sprinkle on the toasted quinoa, shredded chicken, diced apple, and goat cheese. Toss with desired amount of dressing and serve. This salad is best the first day, though the dressing will keep well for roughly a week and can be made ahead.

Recipe Notes:

*You can substitute turkey meat, which I am excited to do post-Thanksgiving, or save time and buy a whole rotisserie chicken

**Total herbs needed for the entire recipe are roughly: 1 oz chives, 0.5 oz oregano, 0.5 oz thyme, and several sprigs of rosemary

***You may use untoasted walnut oil, though I don’t think it tastes quite as good as toasted. You also substitute a different nutty oil, like hazelnut oil.

2 thoughts on “harvest salad with chicken, apple, goat cheese, toasted herbed quinoa, and a cider dressing

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