Festive Christmas Salad With Cranberries
No Christmas is complete without some kind of festive Christmas salad, and this is a good one.
Christmas, celebrated right around the world, is a very special time of year for many people.
A midwinter celebration has existed for millennia as a time when early humans got together for various pagan occasions.
Christmas was introduced on December 25th by the church in the hope that it would attract new members at a special time of year.
Whatever the origins of Christmas, a food feast has become a tradition on the 25th of December when families get together to celebrate.
What is Christmas Salad?
A Christmas salad can be made many different ways, but usually it has some fruit or berries in it as well.
I really like to put dried cranberries and apple slices in my salad, along with a blue cheese of some kind.
But the sky really is the limit for this kind of holiday salad, from pomegranate seeds, to feta cheese and even sweet potatoes.
The aim here is to create a holiday meal the way you like it, maybe with several salad recipes.
Salad at Christmas?!
Yes, salad at Christmas is a long-established tradition at tables the world over at Christmas time.
I have seen a Christmas salad with goat cheese, poppy seeds, quinoa, salad greens and so much more.
Try adding a simple pear salad, or a salad with roasted vegetables, a pomegranate salad or spinach salad as side dishes.
I have even seen a spring mix salad at Christmas dinner, something quick and easy from the grocery store.
It is your festive dinner so make it the way you like, and your family will enjoy it!
How to Make Christmas Salad
My Christmas salad is a relatively traditional approach with the exception of the shankleesh cheese.
This is a type of blue cheese from the Levant that gives my holiday salad a taste of the Middle East.
I start making my salad by mixing the olive oil, vinegar, juice, honey and salt to make the vinaigrette.
Slice the apple into thin slices and place in a bag with lemon juice.
Seal the bag and make sure all apple pieces get covered with the lemon juice.
This technique ensures that your apple slices don’t turn brown in your salad, making it look less than fresh.
Toss the salad leaves with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and crumbled shankleesh or another blue cheese.
Stir in the apples, add the vinaigrette, toss the salad until the dressing is well distributed.
What is Shankleesh Cheese?
Shankleesh is a type of fermented cheese originating in the countries of the levant.
Made from either cow’s or sheep’s milk this cheese goes through a rather complex process.
The first step is to make a crumbly white cheese that is formed into large balls, about the size of a tennis ball.
These are dried in the sun for about a week before being put in airtight containers in the dark for maturation.
A mold layer will begin to appear on the outer layer of the cheese, and will ultimately be rinsed off.
The cheese is finally rolled in za’atar, a mix of spices, and usually served crumbled with a sprinkle of olive oil.
Oftentimes festive salad ingredients consist of fresh fruit, dried berries and candied nuts.
So many more things can be added to this list, from marshmallows, craisins, m&m’s to crumbled oreo cookies.
Sweet vinaigrettes prove popular during the festive holiday time of the year.
Cheeses of all kinds can be added to these salads to give them added flavor.
Some people like to make jello salads at Christmas as a family tradition.
I like to add blue cheese to mine but think about what your favorite cheeses are, and include them.
What to Serve with Christmas Salad
Tradition usually dictates what we have on our dinner tables at Christmastime.
There are many traditions around the world at this festive time of year that I encourage people to adopt some of.
In Lebanon, turkey is the most common meat served at Christmas, followed by duck, and tabbouleh salad is the salad of choice.
Believe it or not it’s KFC that wins the season in Japan, orders and reservations are booked way in advance.
Due to an advertising push in the nineteen seventies, the Colonel reigns supreme with the Japanese!
Coleslaw is the Christmas holiday salad of choice in Japan.
Roast pork is usually on the menu in Denmark, served alongside potatoes and red cabbage.
Julesalat is the Danish festive salad made with chicory, beetroot, apples and mayonnaise.
Roast beef, rabbit, and pheasant are the order for the day in the Netherlands, along with a huzarensalade.
In New Zealand you can expect lamb or turkey, with vegetable gravy and maybe a sweet potato salad.
If you found yourself in Honduras your Christmas salad would most likely be a cabbage salad.
Served alongside tamales and a roast pork leg where the skin is left on as a delicacy enjoyed by all.
I have listed only a few of the many different foods people celebrate Christmas around the world with.
I encourage you to borrow a dish from another tradition at your next Christmas feast.
You never know, it may become a stable passed down the generations in your family.
Tips for Making
- It goes without saying, always use the freshest ingredients as possible when making salad.
- Do not dress your salad or add the apples until you are ready to serve to keep your salad from wilting.
- Use a mix of green salad leaves, mixing in a little spinach, and arugula (also known as rocket) for a little bit of spice.
Festive Christmas Salad Recipe
For the Vinaigrette
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup Orange Juice unsweetened
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp Salt
For the Salad
- 1 Apple sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 8 oz Salad Leaves mixed leaves
- 1 cup Walnuts toasted
- ¾ cup Cranberries dried
- 4 oz Shanklish or Other Blue Cheese
For the Vinaigrette
- Mix all ingredients together and whisk until well combined.
For the Salad
- Slice the apple into very thin slices and put into a ziplock bag with the lemon juice.
- Shake the bag well making sure that all the apple slices are adequately coated with lemon juice.
- Set aside.
- Mix half the salad leaves, walnuts, cranberries and cheese.
- Add half the dressing and mix well.
- Add the remaining salad leaves, and the rest of the dressing.
- Mix all the ingredients together and serve immediately.