This chopped salad is an ode to our favorite fall flavors. Toasted pecans, sweet roasted squash, savory bacon, dried cranberries and a tangy warm dressing are all tossed together with hearty kale and Brussels sprouts. Best of all this colorful salad can be easily enjoyed with a spoon--making it ideal for a buffet. It’s a beautiful side for your Thanksgiving spread or a comforting weeknight meal.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Toss the butternut squash, oil, 3 sprigs of thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the squash is tender and browned in spots, tossing halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Meanwhile, finely chop the kale into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces; thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer the kale and Brussels to a large bowl.
Put the pecans in a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly, then roughly chop.
Wipe out the skillet the pecans cooked in with a clean kitchen towel and return it to medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
Remove all but 1/4 cup of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the shallot and chopped thyme leaves and cook until the shallot is just tender, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard and honey until combined.
Pour the warm bacon dressing over the chopped kale and Brussels, then toss until the greens have wilted slightly and the dressing is evenly coated. Add the reserved crispy bacon, roasted squash, toasted pecans and the dried cranberries and toss until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large salad bowl or 6 salad plates for serving.
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