With all the holiday hooplah over, it’s finally time to unwind, put away the Christmas decorations (have you seen that new commercial where the guy calls all his neighbors quitters for throwing out their trees?? That’s me.), and get back to a normal eating routing. For us, that means a lot less desserts and a lot more healthy options. I’m married to someone who really loves broccoli (I know!), so those little green trees are on a regular rotation in the house.
We also usually have a little salad with whatever we’re eating, but it tends to be the same basic salad. Lettuce, a few carrots or tomatoes, maybe a bell pepper..an avocado if we’re feeling really fancy… nothing groundbreaking. But I ran across this salad before Christmas and it’s become a favorite on our table. You’ll love it because it’s easy to whip up, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, and it’s a nice change from the basic side salad. The hubby has always been a huge fan of salads with a little sweetness in them – strawberries, candied pecans, whatever – so he’s loving this one.
I found it originally on Creme De La Crumb, and made just a few tweaks to match the flavors that we usually eat. She uses feta cheese, but I subbed in shaved parmesan. The greatest thing with this recipe is that it’s super flexible. Don’t have walnuts? Try pecans. Need to get rid of some blueberries? Throw them in. You can customize it to match whatever your meal, and throw in extra things like nuts or lettuces if you have them sitting around.
Even though some of the ingredients are sweet, the dressing has a very mild sweetness to it, so it won’t overpower whatever you’re eating. The dressing also will last in the fridge for a few days, and the recipe makes quite a bit, so you should have some left over to use on any other salads you whip up. Or if you plan on making up a big salad for a few days, just dress what you’re going to eat that night. Nobody likes soggy salad leftovers.
- 6 cups lettuce - baby arugula and baby spinach are my favorite, but you can use whatever you have
- ½ red apple
- ½ green apple
- 1 cup walnut, toasted and roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup apple juice
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
- Core and slice the apples into bite size pieces. Mix all the salad items in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Toss with the salad and serve immediately.
If you want to get creative you could easily make the following swaps if you don’t have the above ingredients in your pantry:
- Swap cranberries for raisins, blueberries, or sliced strawberries
- Swap parmesan cheese for feta cheese, blue cheese, or manchego (mm my fav)
- Swap the apples for sliced pears
- Swap the walnuts for pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts (but I’d still recommend toasting them as it really brings a nice flavor to the nut)