Here’s my favorite Holiday Salad. A wonderful, refreshing seasonal salad with mixed baby greens, fresh oranges and toasted pecans tossed with bright cranberry orange vinaigrette. The perfect salad to start a hearty Thanksgiving feast or an elegant winter dinner party.
This is my go-to salad for fall and winter entertaining. It’s also the best salad for Thanksgiving. I discovered the recipe decades ago in Bon Appetit Magazine and I still love it.
It’s bright and light with fresh flavors of the season, cranberries and oranges complimented by the rich nutty crunch of toasted pecans.
HOW TO MAKE THIS HOLIDAY SALAD
For no-stress entertaining, you can prepare this 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.
- Start with the Vinaigrette: The first thing you’ll want to do is soak the cranberries in hot orange juice to soften and infuse them with orange flavor. While they soak, zest the oranges and whisk up the rest of the vinaigrette: orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, orange zest, salt and pepper. After 30 minutes of soaking, drain the cranberries and stir them in.
- Next, you’ll want to toast the pecans and segment the oranges. My favorite way to toast pecans is on a baking tray in a 350º oven. It takes about 8 minutes for perfectly toasted almonds. 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. For more details, check out The Pioneer Woman’s method of segmenting oranges.
- Assemble the salad: When you’re ready to serve, toss the orange segments with a bit of dressing. Put the greens in a large bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Divide greens between 6 plates and arrange orange segments and pecans on top.
HOW TO PREP THIS SALAD AHEAD:
I love making this salad when I’m entertaining because everything can be done at least a day ahead.
- The vinaigrette can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before using.
- Lettuce can be washed and stored in the fridge. This method will keep it fresh and crisp. Wash the lettuce and spread it out on a big sheet of paper towels. Lay another big sheet on top. Roll up the leaves from one end and put the roll into a large ziplock baggy. Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Oranges can be segmented and stored in the fridge overnight.
- Toasted Pecans can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
OTHER DELICIOUS LEAFY SALADS FROM PANNING THE GLOBE
Here’s My Favorite Holiday Salad Recipe. If you try this I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
My Favorite Holiday Salad
A wonderful festive salad for fall and winter. Perfect for Thanksgiving. Great for a diner party.
Adapted from 1998 Bon Appetit
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: salad making
- Cuisine: Out of this world
For The Vinaigrette
- 1 ¼ cups orange juice, divided (fresh squeezed if possible)
- 1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries (6 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
For The Salad
- 6–8 cups baby romaine or mixed baby greens
- 3 small naval oranges, segmented, peel and white pith removed.
- 3/4 cup toasted pecan halves. (see notes)
- Make the Vinaigrette: Bring 1 cup of orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Leave the cranberries to soften in the juice for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Soaking liquid is not needed. Whisk 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tbs vinegar, 2 tsp orange zest, ½ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in 3 tbs olive oil while whisking. Add the soaked cranberries.
- 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!
How To Toast Pecans: Spread pecans out in a single layer on a baking tray and toast in the middle of a preheated 350º oven for 6-8 minutes.
How To Segment Oranges: Check out this post from The Pioneer woman
Prep This Ahead:
- Dressing can be made a day ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using
- Pecans can be toasted several days ahead. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using.
- Oranges can be segmented a day ahead, stored in the fridge.
Keywords: best holiday salad recipe, Thanksgiving salad recipe, party salad, fall salad