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Seasonal fruit is the star of this festive and colorful Winter Salad. Crunchy candied nuts, salty feta cheese, and a sweet and tangy cranberry dressing make it delicious and satisfying. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Festive Winter Salad for Thanksgiving or Christmas
Come November and December, you may not find the same variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the grocery store as you find in the summer. But winter fruit can be just as delicious and plentiful. You’ll find the shelves stocked with citrus fruits and pomegranates, so I made them the star of this salad.
Orange slices add bright, fresh flavor. Pomegranates are little sweet-tart bursts. Avocados filling richness to this salad. And some salty feta is the perfect counterpoint. To add crunch, I love to use my sweet and spicy candied nuts, but you can just sprinkle on some toasted pecans for crunch. Then to add to the seasonality, I used some of my Cranberry Balsamic Dressing, but any balsamic vinaigrette or even a simple splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil will do.
All of these flavors come together into one bright and delicious salad that has all the flavors of the holiday. It is perfect to serve with a Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. Or save it for the day after the holiday and top it with your leftover meat to turn it into a satisfying dinner salad.
You’ll love all of the seasonal flavors that come together in this Winter Salad. Here is a quick overview of what you’ll need. But be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and instructions.
- Mixed baby greens.
- Oranges. Cut off the rind removing all the white pith, then cut them into segments.
- Avocado. Sliced or chopped.
- Pomegranate. Remove the arils.
- Feta cheese. You can also substitute blue cheese or goat cheese, or even a sharp white cheddar.
- Nuts. I like the sweet and spice flavor of Candied Spiced Nuts, but you can also just use toasted pecans, Honey Glazed Walnuts, or your favorite.
- Cranberry Balsamic Dressing. This is made by blending equal parts leftover cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil with a pinch of salt. You can also use another balsamic vinaigrette raspberry vinaigrette, or just some olive oil and vinegar.
Assembling the Winter Salad
Make a base of greens. Place all of your greens in one big salad bowl or divide it between serving bowls.
Segment the oranges. Using a serrate knife, cut off the top and bottom of the orange so you see some of the fruit. Then, working your way around the orange, slice off the rind from top to bottom, removing all of the white pith. Then cut segments by making a cut as close to the membrane as possible to remove each segment but leaving the membrane attached.
Top the salad. Place the orange segments on top of the salad, followed by the avocado, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and nuts. Drizzle it with the dressing.
Toss and serve. Toss the salad before serving or just let people serve themselves.
This winter salad is best prepared and eaten right away, though you can prepare the different components in advance. The candied nuts and dressing can be stored for several days before using them, and the oranges can be cut the day before and kept in a sealed container.
If you do happen to have leftovers, cover them tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the leftover salad to a container and store it in the refrigerator. If you have already tossed it with the dressing, you’ll want to eat it within a day or so.
This is the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas salad to enjoy with your favorite holiday main dishes.
- Herb Roast Turkey
- Pineapple Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Cranberry Garlic Crusted Prime Rib
- Black and Blue Steaks
- Balsamic Roast Chicken
You can also make it the day after the holiday and top it with leftover turkey, ham, or beef to make it a dinner salad that is light and fresh, but filling. Or serve it with soup and some gluten free crescent rolls delicious soup and salad meal with one of these recipes:
Things You’ll Need
AVOCADO TOOL – I love these for making it quick and easy to slice an avocado.
SERRATED KNIFE – I prefer a knife like this for segmenting an orange.
SALAD BOWL AND TONGS – A salad like this looks especially gorgeous in a nice wooden bowl.
JELLY JARS – Your dressing will keep for several days in a jar in the fridge.
Winter Salad with Cranberry Balsamic Dressing
For the Cranberry Balsamic Dressing
- 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place the mixed greens in a big salad bowl or divide between individual bowls.
- Top with the orange segments, avocado, pomegranate seeds, feta, and nuts.
- Drizzle with the dressing. Toss everything together or serve as-is.
For the Cranberry Balsamic Dressing
- Combine the ingredients in a small blender jar, or a glass mason jar that can attached to your blender blade and blend until smooth.If you don't have one of these appliances, you can whisk it in a bowl or shake it in a jar, but it might not be as smooth.