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I truly love a good salad. Shoot, I’ll even eat just a boring salad with some greens with dressing. They fill you up, provide you with lots of nutrients, and can be macro-friendly. But when I am bringing a salad to someone else’s house, especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving, I like to bring something a little bit more dressed up. If you’re looking for a salad for Thanksgiving, or even for an entree at home, I think this fall chopped salad will be a hit!
Years ago, I began following Espresso and Cream’s blog. One fall season, she shared one of the most popular recipes from her blog, which was this Autumn Chopped Salad. It is filled with lots of yummy toppings, such as crisp bacon, pecans, fresh pears, dried cranberries, and feta cheese.
The best part of this salad, in my opinion, is the dressing. For the dressing, she suggests taking your favorite poppyseed dressing and mixing it with balsamic dressing. This helps the dressing still keep some sweetness, but the balsamic helps to tone it down. I found it to be an irresistible combo, AND easier to prepare than making your own dressing. Especially around the holidays, it’s nice to have some shortcuts in the kitchen.
When I brought this salad to Thanksgiving a few years ago, everyone kept asking about it and raved about its different textures and flavors. From then on, it became one of my go-to salads to bring somewhere, and I have heard many praises for it over the past four years.
Since I loved this salad, I decided to do my own macro-friendly take on it. I wanted to be able to enjoy it not just as a side dish, but for an entree whenever I wanted. I also really wanted to amp up the fall flavors by adding in roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Since I was serving it as an entree, adding cooked chicken was necessary to add protein into the mix, but you can leave out the chicken if you want to serve it as a side dish. I’m not sure if a salad can be “cozy,” but if one ever was, it is this one!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash
First things first, this recipe needs to begin with roasting some Brussel sprouts and butternut squash. Before I made this recipe, I had never prepared butternut squash in my home. So I had to do a bit of research on how to prep the butternut squash for the oven.
First, butternut squash needs to be peeled before it can be cut. It does have quite a tough skin, though. A quick Google search told me that microwaving the butternut squash can help soften the skin and make it easier to peel. I microwaved mine for 30 seconds, flipped it over, and then microwaved for another 30 seconds.
After the squash was peeled, I cut off the ends of my squash and then cut my squash in half. After that, I scooped out the seeds and threw them out. I then proceeded to cut cubes of squash, around a three-quarter inch in size. I tried to make sure that I had as equal as possible sizes for the cubes. This helps make sure the squash cooks evenly!
For this recipe, I just needed a pound of squash, so I set aside the amount I needed and put the rest in a container in the fridge for later use. Of course, if you want to make this even simpler, just buy the pre-cut option at Costco in the produce section.
The Brussel sprouts are much simpler to prep. For this recipe, the Brussel sprouts need to be washed and then halved. You will also need a pound of them.
After the veggies are ready to go, you’ll lay them out of a sheet pan. To keep them from sticking and to give them awesome flavor, drizzle the vegetables with 2 tsp of olive oil. After a quick sprinkle with salt and pepper (to taste), these veggies get roasted in a hot oven (425 degrees) until they become tender and golden brown.
As I mentioned before, this dressing couldn’t be simpler to prepare! All you do is mix one part of poppyseed dressing and two parts of balsamic vinaigrette dressing together. I like to place mine in a mason jar and give it a good shake to combine the two.
Of course, the macro count for this dressing will vary greatly depending on the type of dressings you choose to use. For the recipe below, I chose to go with Skinnygirl brand products. They are fat-free and sugar-free, so they have excellent macros. I purchase mine from Walmart, but you can also purchase them on Amazon. You can choose whatever lighter dressing you’d like, though, or maybe you’ll even go for the full-fat versions for a holiday like Thanksgiving!
- Cooked Chicken Breast. Any kind will do. We ended up cooking some sautee-ready chicken pieces (I purchase mine from Costco) in the air fryer and seasoning them with a little salt and pepper. Super easy!
- Pear. Instead of going with dried cranberries, I opted to just use more fresh pear in my salad for sweetness. If you don’t know, dried fruit packs a lot of carbs and sugar. For this reason, I will almost always choose fresh. I love the pears in this salad because it’s a seasonal fruit!
- Mixed Greens. Or really, any greens that you’d like. If I am bringing a salad to someone else’s home, I will usually opt for romaine since more people like romaine lettuce over mixed greens.
- Goat Cheese. The original recipe called for feta, which also works great, but I have a big soft spot in my heart for some crumbled goat cheese! I absolutely love the creaminess it adds to the salad. Choose which cheese you enjoy most!
- Bacon. It makes everything better, doesn’t it? We used the thick-sliced bacon from Costco. If you’re looking to save some additional fat grams, turkey bacon can be used, too. However, if you are bringing it for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend using the “real deal.”
- Sliced Almonds. These add a crunchy element to the salad. For the salad below, I scaled back on the sliced almonds because of the fat content. If you are preparing this salad for others, I would personally add more.
Roasted Fall Chopped Salad
For the Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash
- 1 lb butternut squash, washed, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes (453 g)
- 1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed, washed and halved (453 g)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
For the Dressing
- 1 part Skinnygirl Poppyseed Dressing
- 2 parts Fat-Free Balsamic Dressing
For the salad
- greens, or lettuce of choice
- goat cheese, crumbled
- pears, peeled and diced
- sliced almonds
- bacon, cooked and crumbled (we used the thick-sliced bacon from Costco and the macros reflect that)
- cooked chicken breast
For the Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash
- Preheat and oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash and cut vegetables as directed. Arrange them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Using clean hands, toss the veggies to evenly distribute oil and seasonings.
- Place vegetables into the preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Give them a good stir every 10 minutes or so.
For the Dressing
- Mix together the poppyseed dressing and balsamic dressing until completely mixed.
To Assemble the Salad
- Lay down 85 g of greens or lettuce of choice. Top with 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast. Add in 1/4 of the roasted vegetables (mine weighed 105 g). Crumble 10g of goat cheese, 5 g of slivered almonds, 50 g of diced pears on top, and 1 slice of bacon on top. Drizzle with 30 g of prepared dressing.