Warm Pumpkin and Bacon Salad

Here comes Turkey Day. It’s unavoidable, like drunk football fans in November. I love Thanksgiving, but I do get sick of the same old spread. To be honest, the only thing I really like is the stuffing, the potatoes, and the pie. But I have to serve more than that, so I am constantly on the lookout for something different.

This warm salad is full of typical fall flavors, but it is still challenges the palette with contrasting flavors and textures. It’s a plate of sophistication for the otherwise humdrum holiday table. (By the way … this recipe is in my Sensation Salads book, which you can order in the upper right hand corner of this page! … hint hint.)


1 medium pumpkin or 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 2-inch cubes
4 TB. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 scallions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Zest and juice of 1 orange
4 sliced bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Toss diced pumpkin with oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Toss occasionally for even cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add pecans and cook, tossing, until golden and lightly toasted. Add scallions, garlic, and keep cooking until tender, another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, orange zest, and juice. Set aside.
  3. Combine warm pumpkin and dressing, and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately, topped with bacon and crumbled cheese.
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