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3 satisfying salads that make the most of fall vegetables

The best salads are fall salads.
Our favorite way to showcase fall vegetables is in salads — warm, hearty, satisfying salads.
Our favorite way to showcase fall vegetables is in salads — warm, hearty, satisfying salads.Courtesy Romel Bruno

When we think of fall, many of us imagine heavier, comforting meals — not salads. I typically treat salads as a side accompanying my main dish, but lately, I've been challenging myself: Can I make a bomb salad as a main dish? The answer turns out to be a hard yes — yes, I can.

Fall is my favorite season — I love the crisp, cold air and curling up on the couch to binge-watch shows — but more than anything, I love the produce. Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and all different types of root vegetables are all perfect for roasting, which brings out their sweetness and earthiness. And, I've found, nothing showcases those flavors quite like a warm salad does.

I love to roast my vegetables and roast them hard — especially broccoli and Brussels sprouts, since they are hearty and durable. I love to serve this simple salad warm, with a vinaigrette that’s bright, acidic and onion-y. I render out pancetta to get it crispy, use the fat to cook down my shallot and add a splash of vinegar and Dijon to balance it all out.

This salad has a lot of flavor and a mild spice to it. The roasted carrots pair well with the garlicky citrus mojo dressing. Salty cotija cheese, creamy avocado and roasted corn give you familiar Mexican flavors in a fun, new way. Salad with corn nuts? Who would have thought?

This flavorful fall pasta salad incorporates two of my favorite autumn ingredients: butternut squash and pumpkin seeds. The earthy, sweet squash adds richness to the dish while the bright pesto keeps it light and flavorful. It's the perfect dish to start the season.

Find even more hearty fall salad recipes here.