This fall season is already rushing by for us.  Soup season is in full swing and I love to pair my lighter soups with hearty plant-based salads like this one.  It all starts with fresh delicate spicy baby arugula which is always elegant and delicious as a salad base.  I then load up my bed of arugula with plant-based protein from quinoa, hemp seeds, crispy chickpeas and roasted & salted pepita seeds.   You certainly do not have to use all of these items but if you are looking for a salad with staying power then I recommend cramming in as many as you can.  They add great texture and flavor to liven up the salad.

I love to balance out my greens and proteins with a crunchy fruit and/or vegetable.  Here, I use a sweet and juicy red apple and crunchy, spicy radishes.  If you have been following my Instagram stories then you know my current obsession with spiralizing all things.  And radishes and apples are my latest obsession.  It is so much easier than trying to slice them up by hand and the texture of them when they are spiralized is incredible.  It somehow transforms them and makes them even more enjoyable.  I love how the apples and radishes get distributed nicely throughout the salad when they are spiralized.  So, instead of a big chunk of apple or radish, you get a subtle hint in every bite.

But I don’t stop there!  This time of year, I love to add fresh plump figs to salads.  They are somewhat unexpected and add a nice chewy texture and a touch of sweetness as well.  If you do not have them on hand, try mixing in cranberries or raisins.

And finally, avocado!  Adding buttery avocado is never a bad idea since it adds fiber and healthy fats making the salad even more filling (and crave-able).

To tie it all together I use one of my go-to vinaigrettes that combines olive oil, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  It is fast and flavorful – just how I like my food.  I like to make a large batch of this to keep on hand for easy salads throughout the week.

This hearty fall salad recipe is nourishing and is sure to make you feel balanced this time of year when pumpkin spice-temptation and treats are everywhere.  This salad is vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free and gluten-free.

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it above, and tag a photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on InstagramTwitter or Facebook so I can see your salad creations!