Go-To Holiday Salad for the fall and winter is this lovely and festive holiday salad with apple cider dressing. Mixed greens, fresh pears, dried cranberries, pepitas, and goat cheese are tossed in an apple cider dressing in this simple salad dish.
A vibrant and refreshing salad that goes well with chicken, fish, and hog. Ideal for the holidays or any other occasion!
How To Make Go-To Holiday Salad Recipe
I am sharing my Go-to holiday salad. This is a salad that I turn to throughout the fall and winter months. It’s beautiful and festive, and it comes together so quickly and will literally brighten up any tasteable day of the week.
One of my favourite ways to add some comfort and warmth and bulk up a salad during the colder months is to add some seeds or nuts.
Go-To Holiday Salad Ingredients
These are the Go-To Holiday Salad ingredients you need to prepare this delicious recipe below.
- 5 oz. baby greens (mixed)
- 1 big chopped pear
- 1/3 cup cranberries, dried
- a third of a cup of pepitas (raw green pumpkin seeds)
- 2 oz. chilled goat cheese (about 1/3 cup)
- Dressing with Apple Cider
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 3 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (raw)
- 2 teaspoons honey (raw)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper
Apple Cider Dressing
- Combine crushed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a spouted cup or mason jar. Well whisked or shaken
- Toast the pepitas in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently. When they start to make popping noises and turn golden brown around the edges, you know they’re done. Allow cooling in a small bowl.
- In a large serving bowl, place the greens. Pears, dried cranberries, and toasted pepitas are sprinkled on top. Crumble the goat cheese on top of the salad with your fingers.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to combine it all. Serve and have fun!
Go-To Holiday Salad Nutritional Info
Serving: 1side salad | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Go-To Holiday Salad Step by Step & Procedures
So for this Go-To Holiday Salad recipe, I’m using a third of a cup of toasted pepitas, which are raw pumpkin seeds. I buy them raw just like this. And then, to toast them, I just take a nice dry skillet. I get that heating over medium-low heat, then add the seeds right into the pan and gently toss them.
You want to stir them fairly frequently, and then you’re going to see, after about five minutes, the edges of the seeds begin to turn Golden Brown, and you will even begin to hear a little popping sound in the pan.
That’s how you know that the pumpkin seeds are toasted up and ready to go. So I’m just going to transfer them into a bowl and let them cool off. Now, if you didn’t have pumpkin seeds on hand, a few other options that I really love in this salad are toasted walnuts or toasted pecans. Both would be delightful.
Now, I’m making an Apple cider vinaigrette, moving on to the salad dressing. Traditionally, a vinaigrette is made of three parts oil, vinegar, lemon juice, or whichever acid you prefer. But I like to make my vinaigrette with a ratio. So I’ll do one part oil to one part vinegar. I just like the flavour.
It’s a little bit lighter, it’s a little bit brighter, and it really cuts through all the flavours of the salad. So for this dressing, I’m going to start with one clove of crushed garlic. Then I have three tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil. And this is when you want to pull out the good olive oil. It’s going to stay raw and unheated.
So a really nice, high-quality olive oil would be your best choice. Then I have three tablespoons of Apple cider vinegar. Now, remember, whenever you’re buying Apple cider vinegar, you want to look for raw Apple cider vinegar with your mother. Now the mother will look like something cloudy at the bottom of the bottle.
Or you may even notice something stringy floating around in your vinegar. This is not a problem. Nothing has gone wrong. It’s a result of the fermentation process, and it’s going to give you a good dose of healthy probiotics.
Next, I have two teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a good hearty pinch of kosher salt, and a little black pepper.
And then you can either whisk this all together or since I did it right in a Mason jar, I’ll just pop the lid on and shake it up. Now for the salad, I like to buy these containers of pre-washed organic baby lettuces.
I have this sweet baby lettuce today, but you could really buy any blend that you love or prefer. This is nice and tender, but it’s still Hardy enough to hold up to all ingredients. If you wanted something even harder for the colder months, you could swap in some kale.
If you wanted something crunchier, you could do some romaine. Or, of course, you could do a 50 50 mix of any of them.
So I’m just going to get all of my Greens into a nice big bowl. You could also do this on the serving platter if you prefer. And then, right over the top, I have one nice big seasonal fresh pear that I just chop into-sized bite pieces.
And I’m going to sprinkle that right over the top. Do note that if you’re not serving the salad right away, just hold off on the pear and serve it directly before you act, so it doesn’t brown, and a little FYI.
If you didn’t have a pear, you could certainly do a nice crunchy Apple. If you didn’t have an Apple, you could do a Purse Simmons. But, really, any seasonal fruit would work in a salad and be absolutely beautiful.
Then I sprinkle on a third of a cup of dried cranberries. This is going to give a nice little sweet bite to the salad. And also because I can’t help give you guys options. Pomegranate seeds would also be lovely if you had them. They are so Holidayesque and beautiful.
And so if you wanted to swap the cranberries for pomegranates attractive option, I’m going to sprinkle on those toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a nice little crunch.
And then finally, just a couple ounces of goat cheese that I took right out of the refrigerator. So it’s nice and cold and chilled. And you can just crumble this over the top. And if you don’t do dairy, you could skip the cheese altogether.
And I promise you, this Go-To Holiday Salad would still be absolutely divine. Once you’ve got all of your ingredients in your bowl, then all you have to do is finish this by drizzling the dressing right over the top. And depending on your personal preference, you may or may not use all of the sauce.
So just drizzle on what feels right for you. Then, gently toss everything all together. You will have this salad. It’s so beautiful, so easy, and so delicious. We believe you would love knowing How To Make Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup too, which is a simple and delicious recipe as well.
You’ve got the creamy goat cheese with the crunch of the toasted pepitas and then the sweet bite of the pears and the cranberries. I’m telling you if you get a little bit of each one on your fork, it’s going to feel like a little party in your mouth. It’s so good.