This easy flavorful and healthy fall salad is perfect for Thanksgiving. It has just the right balance of healthy and indulgent because it’s packed with nutrient-dense vegetables and just enough bacon and cheese to make it taste incredible.
1lb Brussels sprouts
1 large bunch kale, any variety
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to tast1 Granny Smith apple, diced or julienned (peeling optional)
⅓cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
¼cup dried cranberries
6ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced
5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled, bacon fat reserved
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat (warmed up to liquify if solid)
Clean and remove any brown or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts, then slice or shave them as thin as possible. You can do this with a knife but a mandoline slicer will make it MUCH easier. Add them to a bowl.
Remove the tough stems from the kale, then stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Run your knife through them to make nice, thin ribbons, then add them to the bowl with the Brussels sprouts.
Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then use clean hands to squeeze and massage the greens until they’re fully coated with oil and have reduced a bit in volume.
Add the apples, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, cheddar cheese, and bacon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and bacon fat while whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss until everything is thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.
prep the salad ahead:
Mix the dressing in a jar and refrigerate until needed. Dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance. Let it come to room temperature for at least 1 hour prior to serving so the fat isn’t hardened.
Cook the bacon, crumble it and refrigerate in a container. Reserve the fat in a jar and reheat to liquify before serving.
Shave the Brussels sprouts and thinly slice the kale. Add it to a zip-top bag with a damp paper towel and refrigerate for up to 3 days in advance.
Toast and chop the pecans, add to a container along with the dried cranberries and store at room temperature.
Dice the cheddar, place it in a container and refrigerate.
When ready to make the salad, all you have to do is dice the apples, massage the kale and toss everything together with the dressing.