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Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad

a green salad with chicken, bacon, apples and cheddar cheese

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad is LOADED with all the amazing ingredients we “chicks” love during the Fall!  Dried cranberries, Feta Cheese, Candied Pecans, Bacon, Apples, breaded chicken breast and it is topped off with a fantastically flavorful easy Poppy Seed Balsamic Dressing! 

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I had a meeting yesterday with some girlfriends. I decided it was the perfect excuse to have a “girls” lunch with some delicious “Chick” food!

“Chick Food?” Yep! You know, the kind of dish you set down in front of your “Man”, and he looks down at it, then back up at you, and asks… “So where’s the main course?” (insert eye roll, followed by head shaking!) Chick Food! (Can I get a “Hallelujah-Amen!” ) Nothing better than some amazing food, friends, and girl talk to re-energize the spirits!

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad with chicken, apples, candied pecans, feta cheese, bacon, and cranberries

This recipe is enough for 4 “healthy” servings! (Meaning we may have gone back for seconds! It’s SALAD! Zero calories! HELLO!!!) (Hey! It was a stressful election day! We could have been “feed-bagging” gallon containers of Dryers Ice Cream! Instead we were eating salad… The ice cream came later! lol )

How To Make Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad

Chop two heads of romaine lettuce. Place your chopped lettuce into a salad spinner, rinse, and spin dry. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Tip: This is a great salad to make “ahead”. Meaning you can make all the components ahead of time and then throw it all together when your guest arrive.

chopped and cleaned lettuce for salad in large bowl

Cook 8 slices of bacon.

Tip: To make bacon pieces I pre-cut the bacon into smaller bite size pieces using my kitchen scissor. Then fry them off in a skillet. This allows the bacon to cook quickly and with ease.

cut bacon in large skillet cooking on hot stove top

This really is so much easier than cooking strips of bacon and than trying to crumble them later.

Bacon cooking in skillet.

After your bacon pieces are all cooked, drain them on a paper towel lined paper plate.

I do this so clean-up is easy peasy! (If you haven’t guess by now I’m all about making cooking easy from start to finish! Finish = clean-up too!) 

Bacon for Harvest Salad draining on paper towels

Caramelized Pecans are easier to make than you’d think and so delicious in salads!

TIP: I like to make a big batch and then store them in a zip lock bag to use on salads any time I want. Please note you can buy candied pecans in the grocery store usually by the produce section or salad topping section.

In a small skillet place 1/2 cup of sugar (or more if you are doing more pecans or walnuts). Over low heat melt the sugar slowly. DO NOT STIR.

Sugar melting in skillet on stove top

Once the sugar is almost melted, remove pan from the heat, and add in 1 cup of pecan halves. Stir quickly to coat.

Adding pecan halves to melted sugar.

Once the nuts are coated, place on a piece of wax paper or foil, sprayed with cooking spray and allow to cool.

Place cooled candy coated pecans in a plastic bag. Use a rolling-pin or meat tenderizer to smash nuts into bite size pieces. Store in plastic bag or air tight container until ready to use.

Pecan nuts in caramelized sugar for salad

The only other thing you will need for this salad, besides the dressing, is to either bake, 3-4 breaded frozen chicken breast, like Tyson, or purchase breaded chicken tenders from your grocer’s service deli.

TIP: Make sure you get all those crispy bits into the salad when you chop the chicken up!

I wanted a really pretty presentation for this salad. It’s just so beautiful!

I began by placing the lettuce into a large glass serving bowl. Then arrange all the ingredients around the bowl on top of the lettuce. Dried Cherry Cranberries, Candied Pecans, Chopped Fresh Apple, Chopped Chicken breast, Bacon Bits, and Feta Cheese in the center.

I decided I would “toss” the salad when all my guest arrived so that it would be fresh and not soggy. Plus it would be so impressive!

If you do decide to serve the salad in this manner, with full presentation, be sure you can actually toss a salad and keep it in the bowl! Not flying across the room into your guests faces like I did! You don’t want to look like the Swedish Chef on Sesame Street! (I have to say though…I think I nailed the likeness! Sigh…Sorry Ladies! )

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad

I stated in the beginning that the dressing for this salad is AMAZING and SUPER easy! I wasn’t exaggerating! It’s 3/4 a cup of Kraft Creamy Poppy Seed dressing to 1/4 cup of Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Mix well and pour onto the salad before tossing, or throwing in your guests faces! I only used about a 1/2 cup of dressing on my entire salad and we all agreed it was plenty. Save the extra for the next time! (I know you are going to be making this again! It’s JUST THAT GOOD!)

This is the type of salad you go “out” to lunch to order! It’s packed with so many awesome autumn flavors. It’s really like a flavor explosion of happiness in your mouth!

The sweetness of the dried cherry flavored cranberries and fresh autumn apples, the crunch from the candied pecans, the tart from the feta cheese, and the rustic robust smoky flavor of the bacon. Throw in the tender crispy chicken and top it off with the sweet full flavored poppy-seed balsamic dressing and…WOW! A Salad that will impress the best!

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad mixed and with dressing

I served this salad with cheddar cheese bread. It was, in my opinion, the perfect flavor combination to go along with this salad. I didn’t make it. I purchased a “Marketside” loaf from Wal-Mart. It was delicious and may be my new addiction! I kept the beverage light by serving water with fresh orange slices and cranberries.

Harvest Autumn Salad

I think this salad was good enough to have tossed in your face! lol I hope my guest thought so too?!

I hope you’ll love this salad as much as we did. You could even make this the day after Thanksgiving and use some of that leftover Turkey! What a great light lunch to have the day after.

Other Great Salad Recipes 

Thanks for stopping by my Nest! I want to thank all of you for your comments, encouragement, follows, shares and pins! YOU make my day brighter! Hugs!

Norines Photo and signature


Yield: 4-6 servings

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad

Chopped Autumn Harvest Salad

A delightfully delicious chopped salad packed with all the wonderful ingredients Fall has to offer and topped with an amazingly flavorful creamy poppy seed balsamic dressing! This one will have you coming back for more!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 heads of Romaine Lettuce, chopped, washed, and dried
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cherry flavored Ocean Spray Cranberries
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 large Jonagold Apple, washed, cored, and chopped
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3-4 Tyson breaded Chicken Tenders, baked, cooled and chopped


  • 3/4 cup Kraft Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette


  1. In a large bowl combine chopped lettuce, apples pieces, bacon, candied pecans, dried cherry cranberries, chicken, and feta cheese. Toss with Creamy Poppy Seed Balsamic Dressing. Serve immediately.

Candied Pecans

  1. Place 1/2 cup sugar into a small skillet over low heat. DO NOT STIR. Wait until almost all the sugar has melted and is golden in color. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 1 cup of Pecan halves. Once coated place on wax paper or tin foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. When cool place in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer. Store in air tight container or plastic zip lock bag.

Salad Dressing

  1. In a small bowl mix together both types of salad dressings until well blended. Store in Refrigerator until ready to use.


Please note that you can buy candied pecans in our grocery store by the salad section and you can also use Real Bacon Bits if you prefer.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cups

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 558Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 945mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 8gSugar: 42gProtein: 16g
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Laura Hall

Thursday 10th of November 2016

OMG Norine, that Autumn Harvest Salad looks Sooo good! I am going to make it asap. Dressing sounds really yummy too. Restaurant quality for sure. Thanks. Xoxo

Friday 11th of November 2016

Laura, You are so welcome! I know you'll love this salad! I actually thought of you when I was making it! :) Let me know what you think! Thanks for visiting and commenting. I love hearing from you! Have a Great Day! :)