Fact, this side dish was supposed to have candied pecans on it. But guess what? I ended up eating all of them before the photos were taken. Truth be told, I don’t usually like nuts in any dish I eat. Unless it’s a bowl, full of nuts. Anyone else like that? However, if you enjoy them in your food, by all means, add them to this amazing, elegant yet super easy side dish for the holidays.
One of the things I have always struggled with come the holiday season is that dreaded “just bring a side dish” request from friends and family. Whether it’s the potluck at the office, a Friendsgiving for my fellow millennials, or the big family meal. For some reason, this request is often a struggle for me. I always want to bring something nice, delicious and kind of festive. Then I head to Pinterest, get overwhelmed by all of the options and say forget it and bring mac ‘n cheese.
In our family, our Thanksgiving Day sides are usually pretty simple and classic. We have the usual suspects like macaroni and cheese (albeit delicious, but nothing fancy about that), sweet potato pie, or classic mashed potatoes. Our family has a few other recipes but in all honesty, they’re just homestyle classics even down to the Jell-O mold.
So I’ve been on the hunt for that all-star side dish.
The item that’s not only easy to make, but tastes good and looks elevated and fancy. People will think you spent a ton of time on this, but the joke’s on them, you didn’t. I’ll also be the first to tell you this dish is not groundbreaking either. My friend Ali sent me this recipe and after doing some research on Pinterest, it’s definitely a popular combination. But I think my tips and tricks will not only make this an easy dish for you to whip up, but one your friends will be talking about. They’ll definitely want the recipe for this warm autumn salad!
Most of the ingredients in this warm autumn salad can be bought at the store pre-cut in a bag. It makes this dish so much easier to prep when you’re busy around the holidays. I grabbed all of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s. They have tons of great pre-chopped items to choose from making this a quick dish to whip up. Which is ideal this time of year when a last-minute party pops up on your calendar and you’re in charge to bring something.
For a vegetarian and even vegan option…
You’ll see that this salad also has bacon in it. It’s 100% optional. I liked the smokiness it gave the brussels and who doesn’t love bacon. But if you’re looking for a vegetarian option, this will work just fine without the meat. You can also skip the goat cheese (but sorry, it’s the best part of this side dish) if you want to also go vegan.
Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad Recipe
- 2 12 oz bags of butternut squash peeled and cubed (this is roughly 3-4 cups if you’re buying it whole)
- 3 cups of brussels sprouts cut in half (or quartered if they’re massive)
- 3 strips of bacon (optional)
- 1 apple, diced
- 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
- Goat cheese, crumbled – Use as little or as much as you like here
- A few handfuls of baby kale (can also substitute spinach or arugula)
- Poppyseed vinaigrette (I did store bought, totally acceptable)
- 1/4 cup candied pecans, rough chop
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Prep two baking sheets with tin foil and add your butternut squash to one, bacon and brussels sprouts to the other. Toss in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast for about 20 minutes until tender. I did these on separate sheets because my brussels finished before my butternut squash. Just keep an eye on it. Having two sheet pans was much easier in my opinion to pull one out if they were done sooner.
Toss the vegetables with the baby kale, it’ll wilt a bit which is fine. You can toss this all with a few tablespoons of the dressing to get it started too.
Top with apples, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and pecans. Drizzle a little more of your dressing over the top.
What I love most about this dish though is how delicious it is the next day as a big salad with leftover turkey. Add shredded turkey, more baby kale and a touch more dressing for a healthy salad. You’ll feel great eating this after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner. I personally snacked on this a few days after I made it for the shoot. It was a healthy recipe and hearty salad that was super filling. Definitely top it with more goat cheese and pomegranate seeds though because those are the real winners of this dish.
How To Carry & Reheat Your Dish When You Arrive
If you’re bringing this dish to a friend’s house I have a few tips on packing it up and assembling it once you arrive. Since you do want your veggies to be warm and your fruit cold, it will require a bit of assembly. I recommend bringing the vegetables already warm if you can, and just top it with the apples, kale, cheese, and pomegranate seeds then drizzle dressing on top. You can put that all in a Tupperware ready to go making it super easy. Just throw it on top and you’re done.
Depending on your day, your veggies may be cold when you bring it. I suggest bringing them in two separate Tupperware. One for hot, one for cold. Then just heat up the veggies in the microwave (they literally take seconds to heat through) and top with the cold items. This can also be served at room temp no problem too. No one will care, I promise! I actually prefer the double Tupperware method as it makes it a ton easier to transport versus a dish with silver foil on top and so on.
Photos by Hannah Michelle
Warm Autumn Salad
- 2 12 oz bags of butternut squash cubed (this is roughly 3-4 cups if you're buying it whole)
- 3 cups of brussel sprouts cut in half or quartered if they're massive
- 3 strips of bacon optional
- 1 apple diced
- 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
- Goat cheese crumbled - Use as little or as much as you like here
- A few handfuls of baby kale can also substitute spinach or arugula
- Poppyseed vinaigrette I did store bought, totally acceptable
- 1/4 cup candied pecans rough chop
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Prep two baking sheets with tin foil and add your butternut squash to one, bacon and brussel sprouts to the other. Toss in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 20 minutes until tender. I did these on separate sheets because my brussels finished before my butternut squash. Just keep an eye on it. Having two sheet pans was much easier in my opinion to pull one out if they were done sooner.
- Toss the vegetables with the baby kale, it'll wilt a bit which is fine. You can toss this all with a few tablespoons of the dressing to get it started too.
- Top with apples, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and pecans. Drizzle a little more of your dressing over the top.