It’s another day, and another very #AmbitiousThanksgiving recipe that you’re going to LOVE. First, let’s throw it back to 2018 when I first wrote about this beautiful salad and said:
“I call this recipe the Zac Efron Salad. It’s sexy, sweet, savory, feel-good and definitely delicious enough to put on your Thanksgiving table. In fact, it may just sing to you and give you a six-pack. Zac, you sure know how to treat a lady good.”
While I’m not so sure about the look Zac’s currently working with, I am 100% sure you need this roasted sweet potato spinach salad on your Thanksgiving table. A little green is an absolute MUST during the week before and after Thanksgiving too, and in my opinion, a delicious spinach salad can do no wrong.
It’s filled with juicy pears and pomegranate seeds, creamy goat cheese, perfectly toasty, crunchy pecans, and a delicious balsamic dressing to tie it all together. Every time I serve this over the holidays it’s gone within minutes, so trust me when I say your guests will swoon over this one!
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Ingredients in this sweet potato spinach salad
The recipe is a combination of my favorite seasonal fruits and veggies tossed with yummy mix-ins and a tangy balsamic dressing. It feels a little fancy even though it’s so easy! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Sweet potatoes: probably the star of the show in this lovely salad. You’ll roast them up with a little coconut or olive oil, brown sugar (or coconut sugar or maple syrup), garlic powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
- Pecans: for a delicious crunch we’re adding toasted pecans.
- Spinach: the base of the salad is made with nutritious leafy spinach.
- Fruit: add a little sweetness with fresh sliced pears and pomegranate seeds.
- Cheese: the salad gets some creamy tanginess from goat cheese.
- For the dressing: everything gets tossed together in the best homemade balsamic dressing, which is made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, maple syrup or honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Make this salad you’re own
The great part about this sweet potato spinach salad is that it’s easy to customize, which makes it perfect for serving guests. Here are some ingredient swaps you can make:
- For the sweet potatoes: feel free to roast up some butternut squash if you have it on hand.
- For the pecans: toasted walnuts would also be delicious.
- For the pears: I love the flavor and texture of sliced pears in this salad, but apples would also work.
- For the cheese: feel free to use feta if you like saltier cheese.
I also like to add avocado if I’m feeling extra fancy!
Can I make it vegan?
Sure! Keep the salad vegan and dairy free by simply leaving off the cheese. It will still be delicious. Be sure to also use maple syrup in the dressing instead of honey.
Our favorite protein add-ins
If you’re looking to add a boost of protein to this pear spinach salad (especially for lunch), try adding:
Looking to serve a crowd?
If you are serving this to a crowd/gathering, I recommend layering it on a platter. First add spinach, sweet potatoes, pear, and pomegranate. Drizzle with dressing, then top with pecans and goat cheese. Do not toss it together, just serve as is and let guests scoop it themselves!
How to store this sweet potato spinach salad
Store this spinach salad in an airtight container in the fridge, without the dressing, for up to 4-5 days. Simply dress the salad as soon as you’re ready to eat it so that the spinach doesn’t get soggy. The dressing will stay good in a container in the fridge for up to one week.
More fall salads you’ll love
I hope you love this roasted sweet potato spinach salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Roasted Sweet Potato, Pear & Pomegranate Spinach Salad
Beautiful and festive roasted sweet potato spinach salad with juicy pear & pomegranate, creamy goat cheese, toasted pecans, and a tangy balsamic dressing. This easy sweet potato spinach salad is bursting with flavor and makes the perfect holiday side dish or fall lunch!
- For the sweet potatoes:
medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½ cubes (can also use cubed butternut squash)
melted coconut oil or olive oil
brown sugar (or coconut sugar or maple syrup)
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the pecans:
- For the salad:
(6 ounce) bags organic spinach (about 8-10 cups spinach)
pomegranate seeds, from 1 pomegranate
medium ripe bartlett pears, thinly sliced
goat cheese (or can use feta)
- For the dressing:
extra virgin olive oil
garlic clove, finely minced
maple syrup or honey
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, cinnamon and cayenne. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pour mixture over the top. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Roast for 20-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are fork-tender, tossing a bit halfway through. They should get a little crispy on the edges.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, you can toast the pecans on the stovetop: Add pecans to a pan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 3-6 minutes until pecans are fragrant and slightly golden brown on edges. Remove from heat and transfer to a cutting board. After a few minutes, roughly chop the pecans into big pieces. Set aside.
In a mason jar or small bowl, add all of the dressing ingredients. Shake or mix well to combine. Taste and add additional salt/pepper, if necessary.
In a large bowl, add the spinach, pomegranate seeds, pear slices, and cooked sweet potatoes. Top with toasted pecans and goat cheese crumbles. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing, then toss to coat. Add to bowls and serve with extra pecans and goat cheese, if desired.
If you are serving this to a crowd/gathering, I recommend layering it on a platter. First add spinach, sweet potatoes, pear, pomegranate. Drizzle with dressing, then top with pecans and goat cheese. Do not toss together.
To make dairy free: Leave off the goat cheese/feta or use a dairy free feta.
To make vegan: Leave off goat cheese and use pure maple syrup in the dressing instead of honey.
This salad is also amazing with the addition of avocado!
Servings: 6 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Saturated fat: 5.4g
This post was originally published on November 12th, 2018, and republished on November 8th, 2022.