Santa is checking his list, checking it twice, he wants to find out who is naughty and nice….
You can be both naughty (eat yummy food) and be nice (eat healthy food) this holiday season with this delightful Dried Cranberry, Sugar Glazed Pecan Holiday Salad with 2 types of dressing. With a combination of crisp healthy greens and dried fruit to combat the naughty sugar glazed pecans and blue cheese, it is the perfectly balanced salad. This is also a very festive for the holiday season with the beautiful green and red colors of the salad as a back drop for the cinnamon sugar pecans. Drizzling the salad with either the homemade citrus dressing or cranberry dressing just kicks up the entire experience. This is a fantastic salad to bring for a dish to pass as you can set it up like a salad bar with a big bowl of fresh greens and then have separate bowls of dried cranberries, sugar glazed pecans, blue cheese and the dressings on the side. Friends, family and kids can make their salads just the way they like it.
The sugar and cinnamon glazed pecan are a very yummy festive snack, just all by themselves. In less than 5 minutes, you can have them from stove to mouth and trust me you will wish you made more. They can be stored for a couple of weeks in a Tupperware or sealed baggie. However, as I live in moist and humid Hong Kong, they may only last about 5 days in storage.
Did you ever wonder we call salad, a “salad”?
The basis for the word salad is ‘sal’, meaning salt. This was chosen because in ancient times, salt was often an ingredient in the dressing. “Salad, a term derived from the Latin sal (salt), which yielded the form salata, ‘salted things’ such as the raw vegetables eaten in classical times with a dressing of oil, vinegar or salt. The word turns up in Old French as salade and then in late 14th century English as salad or sallet.”
—Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2nd edition, 2006 (p. 682)
I know that bit of news was giving you sleepless nights! So let’s get to recipe!
Dried Cranberry, Sugar Glazed Pecan Holiday Mixed Greens Salad with 2 types of dressing
Serves 10-12 adults or 4 teenagers
- 10 cups of washed mixed greens or baby spinach
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (or goat cheese or even feta might be nice)
- Sugar Glazed Pecan (recipe to follow)
- Citrus dressing (recipe to follow)
- Cranberry dressing (recipe to follow)
Sugar Glazed Pecans
- 3 cups unsalted pecans
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- dash of hot pepper flakes (optional- it gives the nuts a little holiday zing)
1) In a small frying pan add the pecans, sugar, cinnamon and dash of dried red chili peppers and cook over medium low heat until sugar melts and pecans are toasty- about 5 minutes.
2) Line a plate with parchment or waxed paper and lay out flat in single layer to cool and dry. (FYI- Get your wooden spoon and pan in the sink and rinse quickly as the sugar in the candy is at the hardball stage and it will be difficult to clean later)
Citrus Dressing (loosely adapted from Jamie Oliver)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Cracked fresh pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey (or more to taste)
1) Whisk or use a food processor to blend the salt, juice of lemon and orange, lemon zest, chopped onions, Dijon mustard, dried thyme leaves, ground pepper and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing. Refrigerate.
Cranberry Citrus Dressing (recipe adapted from Susanne McKinley)
- 1 cup cranberries (I used dried cranberries but you could also use fresh)
- 1 medium navel orange, peeled and sectioned
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon grated onion
- 1 cup vegetable oil
1) In a blender or food processor, combine cranberries, orange, sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and onion. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Refrigerate.