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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
*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!