When the cool weather rolls around, I’m always ready to dive into a big bowl of autumn flavors. And these harvest bowls with sweet potato are the ultimate fall dish so you can do just that!
They’re packed with roasted chicken, sweet potato, crispy apples, and lots more goodness. Plus, the creamy balsamic vinaigrette that gets drizzled on top is to die for!
Chicken & Sweet Potato Harvest Bowls
These harvest bowls are so, so good. I love all the great textures between the juicy chicken, crunchy almonds and apples, and creamy goat cheese.
Sweetgreen, a salad place here in DC (and other cities), makes a really good harvest bowl that I love.
I order it so often I thought it might be nice to create my own version of the autumn-inspired bowl at home. And voila – the finished product turned out amazing!
Honestly, this salad is a lunch dream. It’s filling and flavorful and nourishing – all the best things!
I’ve also included some recipe variations later in the post if you want to switch things up, too.
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- raw chicken thighs (or pre-cooked/rotisserie chicken to make things faster)
- sweet potatoes
- apples (Any kind will do, depending on if you like them sweeter or more tart in salads!)
- brown rice (or wild rice)
- goat cheese
- sliced almonds (or chopped pecans)
And for the creamy balsamic dressing:
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- dijon mustard
How to Make Harvest Bowls
These harvest bowls may look fancy, but they’re actually easy to make and great for meal prep/making ahead of time!
The full recipe card is at the end of this post, but here’s a quick run down of what you’re working with.
You start by roasting diced sweet potatoes on a sheet pan. Partway through, you move them to the side of the pan, add seasoned chicken thighs, and continue roasting until done.
(If you aren’t using quick-cooking or minute rice, cooking your rice should be the first step).
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, you combine all the ingredients into a jar and shake (or whisk) until well mixed.
The key to making this balsamic vinaigrette super creamy is using a lot of dijon and shaking it vigorously to create a super strong emulsion. If you do this, it should keep well and stay creamy for several days in the fridge.
After making the dressing, chop up all the other ingredients (kale, apples, etc.) and place them, along with the rice, into bowls for serving.
Add the sweet potatoes and chicken to the bowls, then drizzle the dressing over each one. And there you have it: the most delicious autumn salad bowl you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating. 🙂
Looking for another autumn-inspired salad? Check out this shaved brussels sprouts salad!
How to Serve
These harvest bowls can be served hot or cold – you do you!
I love the combination of cold kale, apples, and goat cheese with warm brown rice, chicken and sweet potatoes, but it’s equally delicious as leftovers with all cold ingredients. You really can’t go wrong!
Looking for ways to switch it up? Here are some ideas:
- Leave out the chicken to make this salad vegetarian – chickpeas would be a great substitute to add some vegetarian protein to the mix!
- Instead of chicken, toss in some leftover roasted turkey (I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving!)
- Use a different grain, such as quinoa or farro (that amazing chewy texture would be great here!)
- Swap out the sweet potatoes for butternut squash (or another type of squash)
- Instead of kale, use a mix of spinach and arugula
- Roast or saute the apples first to bring out that extra autumn flavor
- Swap out the apples for pears, or use a dried fruit, like cherries
Here’s how you can save some time while making this recipe:
- Buy pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, or cook your chicken in an Instant Pot. (Here’s how to cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot).
- Cook your sweet potatoes in the microwave, instead of roasting it in the oven. This is one of my favorite time-saving cooking hacks! It’s so quick and easy.
- Use pre-cooked or quick-cooking brown rice.
How to Make Ahead & Store Harvest Bowls
To make this recipe in advance and reheat for a hot bowl, I would leave off the apples, goat cheese, almonds, and dressing. Then, microwave the kale/brown rice/chicken combination before topping with the cold ingredients.
For make-ahead storage, you can store the salads fully dressed for 1-2 days, or without dressing for up to 5 days.
I actually like kale salads better after they’ve been mixed with dressing overnight since it softens the kale! You just wouldn’t want to pre-dress a salad that uses spinach or arugula as the base because it’s not as hearty as kale and can get soggy.
I hope these harvest bowls help you get in the autumn spirit! You’ll find the full recipe at the end of this post. Enjoy!
Looking for more hearty and flavorful salad recipes? Check these out:
- Healthy Grain Salad Bowls (Mix & Match)
- Fall Harvest Salad with Watermelon
- Mediterranean Bulgur Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
- Grilled Steak and Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Honey Lime Chicken with Grilled Peach & Corn Salad
- Leftover Turkey and Wheat Berry Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into about 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or use rotisserie chicken)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the creamy balsamic vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 1 small bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (about 8 loosely packed cups)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, hot or cold (1 pouch of 90-second pre-cooked brown rice)
- 1 fuji apple, diced
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Arrange diced sweet potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Roast the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to move the sweet potatoes over to one side of the pan to make room for the chicken.
- Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer on the sheet pan next to the sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven for another 15-17 minutes, until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees F and the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until combined and creamy.
- To assemble the bowls, divide the kale, brown rice, diced apples, almonds, goat cheese, diced chicken, and roasted sweet potatoes between four bowls. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat.