Recipe Review

Smitten Kitchen’s Fall Bliss Salad Is the Only Salad I Need for the Rest of 2021

updated Nov 16, 2021
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Credit: Patty Catalano

After Julia & Jacques on PBS and before TikTok, food blogs were where we honed our culinary skills. As one of those OG food blogs, Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen has earned a loyal following for her innovative original recipes and smart adaptations of other cooks’ culinary offerings. Deb’s meatloaf is my go-to and her confetti cookies make the best after-school treats (no mixer required!). So when saw a recent post for a colorful salad she calls Fall Bliss Salad, I headed straight to the grocery store to pick all of the ingredients I’d need. Here’s what happened when I made Smitten Kitchen’s take on a fall fridge clean-out salad.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How to Make Smitten Kitchen’s Fall Bliss Salad

Start by slicing a peeled honeynut squash into thin slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment, then drizzle the paper with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the seasoned parchment, then add more oil, salt, and pepper on top. Place peeled, halved shallots on a piece of foil and season with oil, salt, and pepper. Gather the edges up into a pouch and place on one side of the baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until the shallots are tender and the squash is tender and golden.

Combine the roasted shallots with olive oil, Dijon mustard, and sherry (or balsamic) vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Thin with water, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper. Toss kale, spinach, or mixed greens with half of the dressing in a serving bowl. Arrange the roasted squash slices, pomegranate arils, crumbled goat cheese, and salted pepitas over the top. Serve with remaining dressing, to taste.

My Honest Review of Smitten Kitchen’s Fall Bliss Salad

As I see it, the best salads are the ones where the toppings and the vinaigrette star, leaving the greens to play a supporting role. In this salad, the greens (I used baby kale) take their proper place. The baby greens are tossed with the homemade roasted shallot vinaigrette, pairing their slightly bitter flavor with the creamy sweetness of the mild allium dressing. Once the bed of greens is laid, it is topped with caramelized slices of winter squash. I substituted butternut squash for the honeynut and it worked beautifully. I quartered the squash before slicing for pieces that are an easier size to eat, even though Deb calls for just slicing the squash. Juicy, tart pomegranate pearls, creamy goat cheese crumbles, and salty pepitas round out the toppings.

This salad is exactly what I needed as a post-daylight savings, midday pick-me-up, and it is perfectly posed for meal prep. What I didn’t expect, was how well-balanced the salad was among all of its elements. The salad serves appealing variety of color, texture, and temperature that’s impressive enough for the holiday table.

If You’re Making Smitten Kitchen’s Fall Bliss Salad, a Few Tips

  1. Squash substitutes are OK. If honeynut squash isn’t available at your grocer, substitute with the same weight of butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
  2. Don’t skip the roasted shallot dressing. There are a lot of really great bottled dressings available, but nothing beats the flavor and freshness of homemade. This Smitten Kitchen classic (it made its debut back in 2012 in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) pairs perfectly with hearty baby kale and roasted squash.
  3. Add dressing sparingly. Don’t pour half of the dressing onto the greens as Deb instructs. Instead, pour in a small amount at a time, tossing with tongs until the greens are dressed to your liking. It’s easier to add more vinaigrette as you go than to try to repair over-dressed greens.
  4. Meal prep the salad. Make the dressing and roast the squash early in the week and refrigerate separately. Just before serving, toss the greens with dressing and top with the roasted squash, creamy goat cheese, pomegranate arils, and crunchy pepitas.

Have you tried Smitten Kitchen’s Fall Bliss Salad? What’s your favorite salad to celebrate fall? Tell us in the comments.