Autumn is my favorite time of the year, I love it as the days grow colder and the trees slowly begin changing colors. It reminds me of this beautiful lake nearby, which my family visited a couple years ago. The air was crisp, the trees were golden, and the water was freezing! We all had such fun, wading into the water until our feet couldn’t bear the cold any longer and then running back up onto the shore. Afterward, we hiked around for a short while before finding a nature building where they kept some wildlife. It was simple yet rejuvenating.
I equally love autumnal food. I’m unable to get enough of apples, pumpkin, squash, cranberries, or anything else in the category. (However, please no pumpkin spice lattes. I prefer my pumpkin and spice in baked goods rather than my coffee.) I wanted to create a recipe that incorporated plenty of vegetables and was undeniably autumn, that’s how I came up with this roasted salad.
Of course, bacon always makes things better. I used to cook it in a skillet on the stove, per the norm. However, for a large family that would always take quite awhile, and it could be difficult finding an appropriately sized skillet that large strips would fit well in. Once I discovered the oven method I’ve never gone back!
It’s a really easy method, just line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil to make it easy to clean, place a wire cooling rack on top, and then place the bacon on top of the rack. You can even add fresh pepper or brown sugar to flavor it. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to bake, but it really saves time in not having to stand around cooking pan after pan, and then you have a large pan of bacon to eat with your family! Or let’s be honest… we’re all probably eating half of it by ourselves.
One of the things I love about this dish is that it can be served as a side for a typical weeknight dinner, yet it’s festive enough to be used at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I’ve also really enjoyed it with a nice steak.
This week is Thanksgiving and I’d like to wish you all a happy holiday! I hope this Thanksgiving you are able to appreciate your blessings, and enjoy a day full of love, kindness, and good food free of family drama. And don’t forget the leftover pie!
- 2lbs/977g Butternut squash
- 12oz/340g Brussels sprouts
- 2 TBSP/30ml olive oil
- 2 tsp/10ml sea salt
- 1 cup/110g halved pecans
- 1 TBSP/14g butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp/2.5ml cinnamon
- 2 TBSP/33g sugar
- 5.5oz/136g bacon, about 6 slices
- 1/2 cup/120ml apple juice
- 2 TBSP/30ml maple syrup
- 1 TBSP/15ml apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup/40g dried cranberries, coursely chopped
- 1 tsp/2.5ml sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C.
- Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, add a wire cooling rack on top so that the legs are resting against the pan. Set bacon on the cooling rack. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until crispy.
- While the bacon cooks prep the vegetables. Start by slicing the stem off of both the top and bottom of the squash, then slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Brace the squash on the now flat halves on the cutting board and remove peel with a peeler. Slice the halves in half, and then into quarters. Slice into 1/2" triangles. Wash and slice Brussels sprouts in half.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner, place vegetables on pan. Add olive oil and salt, toss to coat. Roast in a preheated oven at 375°F/190°C for about 80min, until veg is soft and has developed a nice golden roast color.
- While the veg roasts prep the dressing and the toppings.
- Slice bacon in small pieces, set aside.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and continue to cook until thick, about six minutes.
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat add pecans, and cook until they develop a nutty smell. Be careful to watch them, as they burn quickly. Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Place back over heat and stir. Allow to cook so that the pecans become covered in the spice and sugar, but not long enough to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Coarsely chop.
- Once the veg is done roasting place it in a medium sized bowl. Toss with the apple cranberry dressing, 2/3 of the bacon, and 3/4 of the pecans. Garnish the top with the rest of the bacon and the pecans.