My Favorite Holiday Salad: Mixed baby greens, orange segments and toasted pecans dressed in cranberry orange vinaigrette.
This is my go-to salad for fall and winter entertaining. I discovered the recipe 15 years ago in Bon Appetit Magazine and I still love it. I’ve tweaked it just a bit – a little more orange juice and a little less oil. It’s bright and light with fresh flavors of the season – cranberry and orange, complimented by the rich crunch of toasted pecans. For no-stress entertaining, you can prepare the whole salad a day in advance: wash and crisp your lettuce, make the dressing, cut the oranges, and toast the nuts. Then all you have to do just before serving is toss the leaves with dressing and sprinkle on the oranges and pecans.
An easy way to cut an orange into sections is to slice off the ends and prop the orange on its side so you can see the thin lines of pith separating the sections. Cut along those lines. Then slice the skin off the bottom of each segment.
The dried cranberries are soaked in hot orange juice, which both softens them and infuses them with orange flavor.
The orangey cranberries are tossed with oil, vinegar, orange juice, zest, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
Wishing you happy shopping and a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Here’s my favorite holiday salad recipe. If you try this I hope you’ll come back to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
- Orange-infused cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries (6 tablespoons)
- Orange-infused cranberries (see recipe below)
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 6-8 cups baby romaine or mixed baby greens
- 3 small naval oranges, segmented - peel and white pith removed
- ¾ cup toasted pecan halves (toast on a baking tray in the middle of a 350º oven for 8 minutes)
- Infuse the cranberries and make the dressing Bring orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in cranberries. Leave the cranberries to soften in the juice for 30 minutes. Drain, discarding the soaking liquid. Set cranberries aside. Whisk dressing ingredients: ¼ cup orange juice, oil, vinegar, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in soaked cranberries. (Dressing can be made a day ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using)
- Assemble the Salad Just before serving, toss orange segments in a small bowl with 2 or 3 tablespoons of dressing. Put greens in a large bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Divide greens between 6 plates. Add orange segments and toasted pecans. Enjoy!