Fall season is here! Here at well nourished mamas we love the fall weather, but we don’t necessarily love the cold and flu season that comes with it. If you’re looking to optimize on fresh fall harvest fruits and vegetables, looking to boost your immunity, or if you are trying to boost fertility while trying to conceive, we’ve got just the thing for you! Keep reading to learn how to make our immune-boosting fall harvest salad with a fertility twist!
Nutrition is key to protecting your body against nasty viruses and making sure everything is well balanced physically and hormonally while trying to conceive. An unbalanced, Westernized diet has been shown to hinder fertility in both men and women, meanwhile a well balanced nutritionally dense diet promotes an overall healthier state that boosts fertility. It’s recommended to adapt dietary and lifestyle changes 3 to 4 months prior to trying so your body can fully reap the benefits. That is why we’ve created this Immune-Boosting Fall Harvest Salad recipe, with a fertility twist, to help you and your loved ones boost immunity and fertility all season long!
This immune-boosting fall harvest salad recipe truly takes advantage of the fresh seasonal produce. Packed with a bunch of great greens, refreshingly tangy fruits, and roasted sweet potatoes, this salad is a great way to get a healthier start this fall season!
Arugula & Spinach
Arugula and Spinach are darky leafy greens and are packed full of micronutrients to help boost fertility.
Oranges are rich sources of vitamin C and can help protect against oxidative stress during the fall season. What’s more is that this powerful antioxidant can also reduce sperm damage – so be sure to share this salad with your partner too!
The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor” has some truth to it. Apples are rich in various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, plus you get an added boost of fiber! These help keep the gut healthy which is important for promoting overall health and well-being. Health truly starts from the inside out.
Baked Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is needed to build up a strong immune system, and is involved in producing healthy skin and mucous membranes.
Pomegranate Seeds & Dried Cranberries
Both pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries are found in abundance during the fall and winter months and they truly pack a punch! Pomegranate and cranberries are both rich in anthocyanins. These antioxidative properties help further protect the body against damage. The protective effects of these fruits help boost immunity and fertility simultaneously.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
If you’ve seen our posts for fertility before, you know we love our pumpkin seeds. A nice fall seasonal treat that is packed with omega-3 and phytoestrogens – a plant derived chemical that produces estrogen-like effects on the body when consumed. Omega-3s are great for promoting blood flow, maintaining healthy cell membranes, and increasing excretion of the hormone progesterone. All of these factors are very important for fertility outcomes.
To learn more about pumpkin seeds and seed cycling for fertility, check out our seed cycling with the moon blog post now!
Feta cheese is rich in calcium. In fact, it contains more calcium than most other cheeses! Calcium is important for signaling processes in the body and directly helps to fight off invading viruses. Not only is it delicious on this immune-boosting fall harvest salad, it can give you a great dose of calcium to help boost immunity and fight off cold and flu season.
Orange-Ginger Citrus Vinaigrette
This orange-ginger citrus vinaigrette pairs perfectly with our immune-boosting fall harvest ingredients. It’s tangy, zesty, and bright.
Ginger is packed with antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and even antiviral and antibacterial effects. This root will help keep you healthy all year long
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help improve immune function, metabolic functions and act as a digestive aid which are all factors that can contribute to boosting fertility efforts.
Orange Juice & Zest
Again, oranges pack a strong vitamin C kick. Orange juice and zest provide the perfect immune protection during the fall and winter months
While trying to conceive, you’ll want to try and keep your added sugar intake low. However, honey has natural soothing properties and can help promote overall health and wellbeing with its anti-cancer, anti-microbial, and antioxidative properties.
For this immune-boosting fall harvest salad recipe you will need the following ingredients:
- 8 ounces of Arugula
- 4 ounces of Spinach
- 2 apples chopped into cubes
- 4 to 6 oranges
- 3 cut into segments for the salad
- 2 to 3 for the dressing
- 1 to 1 ½ cups baked sweet potatoes
- ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ to ⅔ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup (4 oz.) of feta cheese
1. Washing and chopping the ingredients
Arugula & Spinach
First wash, rinse, and dry all of your arugula and spinach. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry using either a salad spinner or a towel or paper towel to remove any excess water. You should have 8 ounces of arugula and 4 ounces of spinach for the salad.
Oranges & Apples
Rinse the outside skin of the apples and oranges. Once rinsed, take the oranges for the salad and remove the skin. Cut the oranges into segments. Set aside 1 to 3 oranges for the dressing. Next, cut and core the apples and cut the apples into approximately 3” cubes. Next, take the oranges that were set aside, and zest 1 to 2 oranges. Do this by using a microplane or a grater to zest the outermost layer of the orange. Once you’ve gathered ¼ teaspoon worth of zest, juice the oranges until you obtain ¼ cup worth of orange juice. Set aside for later use.
Wash and peel the ginger. The best trick for peeling fresh ginger is to use a spoon. This I’ve found is the easiest way. Once the ginger is all peeled, mince the ginger until you have 1 teaspoon.
Baked Sweet Potato
For the baked sweet potatoes you’ll want to preheat the oven or air fryer to 400 degrees fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, wash the potato skins well and peel the potatoes. Once peeled you can chop up the sweet potatoes into 3” cubes. Once all chopped, add to a large mixing bowl. Add some olive oil, salt, and black pepper to season. Toss the sweet potatoes in the bowl once all the seasoning has been added. Once fully seasoned, transfer the potatoes to a greased baking sheet, or a sheet lined with parchment paper for easy clean up. Once the oven is ready, spread the seasoned potatoes on your lined tray evenly and place on the middle rack for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Pomegranate Seeds & Dried Cranberries
For the pomegranate, you can either buy pomegranate seeds or you can buy a whole pomegranate and extract the seeds from the flesh yourself. You will also want to purchase dried unsweetened cranberries. Buy enough of each to have approximately ⅓ to ½ cup each.
For the pumpkin seeds you can buy salted toasted pumpkin seeds from the store, or you can toast raw pumpkin seeds yourself. If you’re toasting the seeds yourself, simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and wash your pumpkin seeds. In a bowl, add your pumpkin seeds, some olive oil, salt and black pepper if desired. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper and spread your seeds out evenly on the tray. Bake until the seeds are toasted brown and crunchy, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to mix the seeds in the oven every 5 minutes to ensure even toasting. Transfer to an airtight container to store and cool down. Enjoy for up to 2 weeks, if they last that long!
If you do not buy your feta cheese already crumbled, simply take your block of feta cheese and crumble into a small bowl.
2. Assembling the salad
To assemble the salad first place the washed and dried arugula and spinach into a large mixing bowl (a salad bowl if you have it). Mix the greens together by hand or using salad tongs. Once the base is mixed, add in your chopped apples and orange segments. Next, add your cooled baked sweet potato. If you want you can leave all the other topping ingredients separate for personalization, or add the pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, and feta to the salad bowl. Once the ingredients are all added, toss together lightly to incorporate the ingredients throughout.
We recommend keeping the toasted pumpkin seeds and feta cheese crumbles on the side to top each serving individually. This offers more personalization and maintains the crunch of the seeds.
Once all mixed, you can serve on a plate or a bowl. Top with your desired toppings and dressing. This salad works great as a side for your favorite fall dishes, or you can top with cooked chicken or salmon for a more filling meal.
B. Dressing recipe
For the dressing you will need the following ingredients:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black or white ground pepper
- White pepper gives the flavor without the appearance of black specs in your dressing and offers a milder flavor compared to black pepper which is stronger
Assembling the Dressing
To assemble the dressing, simply place all the ingredients – the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced ginger, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper – to a blender and blend together until smooth and incorporated.
The dijon mustard helps emulsify the dressing so that it doesn’t separate. Once blended, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Shake or blend before serving.
Immune-Boosting Ingredients Spotlight
1. Leafy greens (arugula + spinach)
Dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients that provide the body with protection against all sorts of things. In fact, leafy greens are one of our favorite superfoods to help boost fertility. Arugula and spinach are both packed with vitamins A, C, and K and also provide nutrients like folate, magnesium, calcium, iron and fiber. All of these nutrients can contribute to boosting your immune system and strengthening your fertility.
2. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the four fertility boosting seeds that can be found in seed cycling – a practice utilized by women in an effort to balance hormones and promote regularity in their menstrual cycle. They help restore regularity to a woman’s cycle.
Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of zinc which is a crucial mineral for immunity, cell generation, sleep, and mood. Some studies have even found that deficiencies in zinc are linked to higher susceptibility to cold and flu symptoms.
3. Pomegranate seeds & Dried Cranberries
Pomegranate seeds and cranberries are both rich in antioxidants providing high levels of protection against oxidative stress. In fact, pomegranate seeds contain oil rich in punicic acid and phytoestrogen compounds like those also exhibited in pumpkin seeds. Pomegranate seeds may also increase sperm motility and sperm concentration in men.
Cranberries exhibit many of the same properties as pomegranates as they are both rich in anthocyanins and other phytochemicals that protect the body against damage.
4. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene – which is a precursor to vitamin A – potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A is critical for the body’s immune function and lower levels of vitamin A in the blood have been correlated to reduced immunity.
Antioxidants – such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other phytochemicals – exhibit functions that help protect and improve fertility in both men and women. Antioxidants fight against oxidative damage, and oxidative damage on the reproductive system can put a major strain on fertility efforts.
If you do not have access to the ingredients listed above, have no fear! Here at Well Nourished Mamas, we want to make sure everyone can boost their immune system with an added fertility twist, no matter where you live.
Alternative ingredients based on local availability
We know that depending on your location, you may not have access to the ingredients in this immune boosting fall harvest salad, or due to limited access these ingredients are too costly. That’s why we’re offering up some budget friendly, ingredient swaps that can still help to boost your immune system and improve fertility efforts this fall!
Arugula & Spinach Substitutions
If you don’t have access to arugula, you can substitute this dark leafy green with watercress, dandelion greens, mixed greens, kale, or even romaine lettuce. Spinach is pretty easy to find, but again you can substitute spinach with kale, watercress, swiss chard, or mustard greens.
Apples & Oranges Substitutions
If you don’t have access to apples, you can replace them with pears or peaches. These fruit substitutions offer a similar texture to the apples in this salad.
Oranges can be substituted with mandarins, grapefruit, blood oranges, or even kiwi. These fruits offer the same vitamin C boost that oranges do.
Pomegranates & Cranberries Substitutions
Pomegranate seeds can be substituted with raspberries, cherries, or grapes. If you don’t have access to dried cranberries, you can substitute them with raisins, dried cherries, or even dried apricots.
Pumpkin Seeds Substitution
If you do not have access to pumpkin seeds, you can substitute with sunflower seeds or flax seeds in order to get the same fertility boosting effect.
Feta Cheese Substitution
If you don’t have feta cheese available near you, you can substitute with goat cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola, or even ricotta.
Tips for a Nutrient-Packed Salad
How to maximize the nutritional value of your salad
Salads are packed full of nutrients to promote overall health and wellbeing. However, there are ways to maximize the nutritional value of your salads. Keep reading to find out how!
1. Choosing organic produce
Studies have shown that organic produce tends to have slightly higher in profiles in terms of nutritional value than non-organic counterparts. Organic farming simply has rules and regulations to try and improve water and soil quality, cut out pollutants, and promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on the farm. Organic produce tends to have smaller trace amounts of toxic metals such as cadmium and pesticides too.
2. Incorporating fertility-boosting superfoods
Adding fertility-boosting superfoods such as dark leafy greens, vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, and nuts and seeds rich in omega-3’s can help give your salad an extra nutritional kick! In our salad recipe above, we incorporated arugula and spinach as the base as opposed to romaine or iceberg lettuce due to its fertility boosting properties. We also included pumpkin seeds and a bunch of antioxidant-rich fruits to help boost immunity and fertility.
Balancing flavors and textures
When building a salad you want to make sure you bring together a variety of ingredients that complement each other, while providing different flavors, colors, and textures.
For a salad you can balance out sweet flavor notes with salty notes from cheese or salted nuts and you can also incorporate tangy flavors through a vinaigrette. You can also balance out any savory or bitter flavor notes with sweet ones.
You want to include something with a crunch, while also incorporating some softer ingredients such as cheese, cooked sweet potatoes, and some fruits. For our immune-boosting fall harvest salad we incorporated some cooked sweet potato for a soft bite, some feta cheese for creaminess, and we also incorporated some fresh apple slices and roasted salted pumpkin seeds for some crunch. The pumpkin seeds give a slightly salty flavor and the orange and apples give a brightness to the salad. It all is very light, crisp, and refreshing, while still being filling with the cooked sweet potato, feta cheese, and pumpkin seeds.
Serving and Presentation
For this salad, there are two ways to prep and present.
First, are you sharing with a variety of people? If so, we recommend setting the salad up as a customizable salad bar, with all the ingredients separated that way people can pick and choose what they want to include. This helps make the salad applicable to a variety of people in case there are any food allergies, intolerances, or simply things people don’t like. If you’re doing this, put your greens in a large salad bowl with tongs for serving. Then you can put all the toppings in bowls in a row for serving purposes.
Second, if you’re not wanting to do individualized salads, simply mix the greens with the apple slices, orange slices, and baked sweet potatoes. Mix that so it’s all well-incorporated. Then you can opt to either keep the pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and feta cheese all separate for topping purposes.
When plating, include your base and simply sprinkle your toppings as desired. Once assembled drizzle with some of the homemade dressing for a bright and refreshing colorful fall harvest salad.
Pairing with other fall dishes
This immune-boosting fall harvest salad serves as a great side salad for other fall themed dishes. With Thanksgiving coming up, it could be a great side salad to pair with the thanksgiving feast. It also would be great paired with a cozy soup, such as our Cozy Autumn Wild Rice soup, or paired with some fresh cooked fish or chicken to serve up as an entree salad.
This immune-boosting fall harvest salad offers a fertility twist by incorporating ingredients known both for their immune boosting properties and fertility benefits. This salad packs a powerful punch loaded with various vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy omega-3 fats.
Try incorporating this salad recipe during the cooler fall and winter months to help boost your fertility this season. It’ll help you and your partner get a healthier start to trying to conceive, so you can reap the powerful benefits nutrition has to offer. You can also take inspiration from this recipe and put a fun twist on it by creating a fall harvest chicken salad and more.
Immune Boosting Fall Harvest Salad
For the Salad
- 8 oz arugula
- 4 oz spinach
- 2 apples chopped into cubes
- 3 oranges peeled and cut into segments
- 1 medium sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 4 oz feta cheese
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice from 2-3 oranges
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 tsp sald
- 1/4 tsp white or black ground pepper
Prepare the sweet potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the oven is preheating, wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into 3" cubes. Once all chopped, add to a large mixing bowl along with some olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Toss the sweet potatoes in the bowl, then spread seasoned potatoes onto a lined baking tray. Once oven is ready, place on middle rack for 20 – 30 minutes, or until tender.
Assemble the salad
- While the sweet potatoes are cooling, assemble the rest of the salad.
- Place the washed and dried arugula and spinach into a large mixing bowl and mix greens together.
- Add in chopped apples and orange segments.
- Next, add in your cooled baked sweet potato.
- Top with pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, and feta cheese. Once the ingredients are all added, toss together lightly to incorporate the ingredients throughout the base.
Assemble the dressing
- Simply place all the ingredients – the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced ginger, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper – to a blender and blend together until smooth and incorporated.
- Top salad with dressing and lightly mix to incorporate dressing throughout. Enjoy!
We’d love to hear back from you! Please share your experience below on how you like this immune-boosting fall harvest salad recipe. We’d especially love to hear from you regarding any fertility boosting benefits you’ve noticed or experienced. Feel free to share below!
If you and your partner are looking to optimize your fertility, check out some of our other fertility blog posts below:
3 Fertility Smoothies to Boost Your Fertility covers 3 delicious and nutritious fertility packed smoothies to help get your fertility journey started.
5 Benefits of Bone Broth for Fertility goes over some of the fertility boosting benefits of bone broth and how to make your own at home!
Can You Take Collagen While Trying to Conceive dives into the use of collagen and how it can impact your fertility.
5 Foods to Improve Egg Quality and Supercharge Your Fertility covers 5 dietitian approved ways to naturally increase egg quality in women.
9 Foods to Help Implantation Success & Have a Healthy Pregnancy covers what foods you should incorporate in order to boost your chances of implantation.
8 Male Fertility Foods to Avoid While Trying to Conceive looks specifically at foods that hinder male fertility efforts. This is the first of our blogs tailored specifically for men, so bookmark our homepage to keep an eye out for more male fertility posts in the near future!
Looking for More Support?
If you’re looking for more support along your fertility and pregnancy journey, check out our Guide to Fuel Your Fertility and Optimize Your Hormonal Health now! Our guide features foods to include to fuel your fertility, a list of what to keep in stock in your kitchen, a quick look at supplements for conception, and seed cycling to optimize hormonal health. It’s also complete with meal plans to support your hormones in the follicular and luteal phases, plus 20 bonus fertility fueling snack recipes to incorporate into your day! You won’t want to miss out on this! AVAILABLE NOW!