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Overhead shot of a winter salad on a large platter

Winter Salad with Rosemary Sweet Potatoes, Bacon, and Pear

This Winter Salad with Rosemary Sweet Potatoes, Bacon, and Pear is the ultimate meal-worthy salad for the chillier months! It's as comforting as a salad can be, filled with sweet potatoes roasted in bacon fat and rosemary, hearty kale, arugula, pears, bacon, and a white balsamic maple mustard vinaigrette!

Course Main, Main Course, Salad, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine Easy, Gluten Free, Holiday
Keyword christmas salad, easy kale salad, hearty kale salad, holiday salad, holiday salad dressing, maple mustard vinaigrette, maple vinaigrette, salad with bacon, sweet potato salad, thanksgiving salad, winter green salad with pears, winter kale salad, winter salad, winter salad with bacon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Servings 3 -4
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium bunch Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and shredded
  • 5-6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 D'Anjou pear, thinly sliced

For the bacon-rosemary roasted sweet potatoes

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2'' cubes
  • 2-3 teaspoons bacon fat*
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, plus extra sprigs for roasting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg

For the maple mustard vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground or dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Begin by cooking the bacon. Add bacon to a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook bacon for 8-10 minutes, flipping as needed, until golden brown and crispy. Reserve the bacon fat in a small heat-safe bowl to use for the sweet potatoes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and chop once cool enough to handle.

  2. Make the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the sweet potatoes, 2-3 teaspoons of bacon fat, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss until evenly coated. Add a couple of rosemary sprigs on top and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown. Discard the rosemary sprigs.

  3. Make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, whisk togther the balsamic vinegar, shallot, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

  4. Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette. Season with a couple pinches of salt and freshly cracked black pepper and massage the kale with your hands for a couple minutes, until it has softened and decreased in volume. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Add the chopped bacon, roasted sweet potatoes, and pear, and season the salad with salt and pepper once more. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette and toss. Serve!

Recipe Notes

*Don't forget to save your bacon fat for the sweet potatoes - I usually put a heat-safe ramekin or bowl next to the stovetop to remind me to pour it in there after frying up the bacon!