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Fall harvest mason jar salad with creamy seed dressing

Want to eat more plants? The combination of farro, pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese provides plenty of savory flavor as well as protein — without meat.

Crispy, chewy, crunchy, and tender — this colorful autumnal salad has a variety of textures to keep things interesting. The combination of farro, pumpkin seeds, and parmesan cheese provides plenty of savory flavor as well as proteinwithout meat. Creamy poppy seed dressing brings it all together with less than half the sugar of a store-bought dressing. This salad can be easily doubled.

Image: Fall harvest mason jar salad with creamy seed dressing.
Fall harvest mason jar salad with creamy seed dressing.Erin Scott Photography

Fall harvest mason jar salad

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side salad


  • ½ cup farro
  • ⅛ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup diced, peeled butternut squash (cut in ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (below)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3 ounces lacinato kale, ribs removed, leaves very thinly sliced (about 3½ loosely packed cups)
  • 4 ounces brussels sprouts (6 to 8 sprouts), root ends trimmed, very thinly sliced (about 1¼ cups)
  • ¼ cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shaved parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the farro in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Transfer the farro to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Return the farro to the strainer to drain any excess water. Spread the farro on a plate and let it cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the butternut squash on top. Drizzle the squash with the oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss gently until the pieces are evenly coated. Roast the squash until lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes, stirring the squash halfway through cooking. Let the squash cool completely.
  4. To assemble each salad, pour 2 tablespoons dressing into the bottom of a wide-neck quart-size mason jar. Add half of the farro, followed by half of the squash, 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds, half of the kale, half of the brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese. Repeat with another wide-neck quart-size mason jar and the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. To serve, empty the contents of the jar into a bowl and toss well; serve immediately.

Note: If serving this recipe as a side salad at home, place all the prepared ingredients except for the cheese in a large serving bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.

Cropped image of woman with kale in colander standing at wooden table
Kale, with the ribs removed and leaves sliced very thinly, is a sturdy and hearty green for a mason jar salad. Cavan Images / Getty Images

What Kids Can Do

Kids can help assemble the jars.

Make Ahead

Prep and assemble all the components, including the dressing, up to 2 days ahead of time and store in the jars in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go lunch.

Nutrition Information (1 main dish serving)

Calories: 457 | Added sugar: ¼ teaspoon or 1g | Carbohydrates: 68g | Sodium: 634mg | Saturated fat: 5% of calories or 3g | Fiber: 15g | Protein: 16g

Creamy poppy seed dressing

A typical store-bought creamy poppy seed dressing has almost 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving. The addition of a ripe pear gives this typically sugar-laden dressing the bulk of its sweetness, as well as a rich and creamy consistency without the need for milk.

Makes 1 cup


  • 1 medium very ripe Bartlett pear (about 7 ounces), cored and diced (skin left on)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds


  1. Place the pear, oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the poppy seeds and pulse to combine. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Ahead

The dressing will keep in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information (2 tablespoons)

Calories: 85 | Added sugar: 1/4 teaspoon or 1g | Carbohydrates: 6g | Sodium: 88mg | Saturated fat: 11% of calories or 1g | Fiber: 1g | Protein: 0g

Excerpted from "Half the Sugar, All the Love" by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH. Photographs by Erin Scott. Workman Publishing ©2019.

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