Four Fresh and Festive Salads

Winter Greens Salad with Tahini Dressing

It’s countdown time to Christmas and like me, you’re probably planning your menu for the big meal.  Here’s a round up of four fresh and festive salads to choose from for your Christmas table.  Each one is unique and requires more or less attention to make, but all of them are vibrant and tasty, a perfect combo for your holiday table.

Here you go.  All four yummy recipes in one place.  Good luck choosing.  They’re all so good!

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!


Winter Greens Salad with Tahini Dressing

This Winter Greens Salad with Tahini Dressing is loved by our family and has made an appearance at other social gatherings and has received rave reviews.  The recipe originates from Food and Wine magazine with a bit of tweaking on my part.  The combo of dressing and the selection of greens offers unique flavors that make a statement in the midst of a holiday feast.  It’s an important role to play as a salad, otherwise salads gets pushed aside for other rich foods.  I welcome the opportunity to switch up our greens and give a festive meal a nutritious punch in a celebratory way.  The blend of textures, colors and flavors are amazing.  You’ll love it.  It feeds a small army ?

Winter Greens Salad with Tahini Dressing

Winter Greens Salad with Tahini Dressing (serves 10-12)

3 mandarin oranges separated into sections

1 fennel bulb-halved, cored and thinly sliced on a mandoline

1 pound of mixed chicory greens (I used escarole, endive and radicchio) chopped =16 cups

1/2 cup cleaned, dried and chopped cilantro

1/2 cup small mint leaves

2 Asian pears-peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 avocado, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds)

Flaky sea salt and pepper for seasoning

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1/4 cup sesame tahini

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coconut amino’s or tamari soy sauce

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon sambal oelek or Sriracha sauce

1/2 cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon Asian chile oil

optional, coarse sea salt for the top before serving


Chop assorted lettuces into 1 – 2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add mint, cilantro and thinly sliced fennel.

To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients except avocado oil and Asian chili oil in a quart sized mason jar.  Blend together using an immersion blender, adding oils gradually.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  You can alternately use a small food processor to blend ingredients if you don’t have an immersion blender.

Right before serving, toss half of the dressing with greens, herbs and fennel.  Layer fruit and avocado on top to create visual appeal. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil and toasted sesame seeds.  Serve with extra dressing on the side. Enjoy!

Arugula, Spiralized Beet and Jicama Salad

This stunningly beautiful salad makes a festive presentation with an aray of colors.  I suggest serving it before tossing together.  Also go easy on the dressing.  The ingredients alone have delicious flavors that you will want to taste. In spite of the strong individual flavors of each ingredient, they all play well together.

Arugula, Spiralized Beet and Jicama Salad (serves 4-6)

8 cups lightly packed fresh arugula

3 cups spiralized beets (on the smallest noodle setting)

2 cups spiralized jicama (on the smallest noodle setting)

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup roasted walnuts, chopped coarsely

1/3 cup mandarin orange slices (canned and unsweetened, read the label) or dried cherries

3 ounces goat cheese crumbles


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

zest from 1/2 small orange

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

1/3 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Spread the spiraled beets in a single layer on baking sheet.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Add enough dressing to beets to coat them, about 1 tablespoon.  Roast beets for 15 minutes on the middle rack in your oven, stirring half way through.  When done, remove and set aside to cool.  This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.

In a large salad bowl layer arugula on the bottom, spiralized jicama on top and cooled beet spirals.  Sprinkle over entire salad, sliced red onions, roasted and chopped walnuts, orange slices (or dried cherries) and goat cheese.

Three Day Salad 

Three days before Christmas Eve this salad gets assembled.  It is then refrigerated and forgotten about until it’s time to serve dinner.  It makes serving a multi-coarse holiday meal easy by making it three days ahead! Right before serving toss together with dressing and this fresh green salad serves up crisp, like you just made it.

Three Day Salad (serves 6)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic. minced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 head fresh romaine lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces

5 green onions, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated


1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper


Choose a large bowl or I use a 9 x 13 casserole dish that’s 4 inches deep. To serve I later move it to a serving bowl so at this point it doesn’t matter what it looks like just as long as it will hold the salad.  I have also found that it’s easier to toss using a pan or bowl that’s nice and wide.  Whatever you choose remember it has to be able to fit in your fridge.

Begin layering ingredients in the order given beginning with the olive oil and garlic on the bottom of the bowl, and build the salad from there.  Do not mix, just leave it layered.  (This year I am supplementing some fresh arugula for some of the romaine).  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 days.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate.

On the day of feasting, remove salad from fridge, toss salad and dressing together and serve.


Broccoli Pomegranate Salad

Broccoli Pomegranate Salad fits perfectly into a holiday meal because it’s simple but festive, comes together quickly, can be prepped a day or 2 ahead then mixed together right before serving.  With so many dishes needing attention at the last-minute, this salad is a bright spot on the holiday menu in more ways than one.  It’s not fussy or high maintenance, and still delivers a holiday vibe with great flavor.

Broccoli Pomegranate Salad (serves 6-8)

6-8 cups cleaned and chopped broccoli florets

3-4 pieces of cooked, cooled and chopped bacon (optional)

1/4 cup minced red onion

3 tablespoons each roasted and chopped cashews and walnuts

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (reserve a tablespoon for garnish)


1/3 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 pitted dates

2 cloves crushed garlic

4 tablespoons homemade mayo or primal kitchen mayo

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


In a large salad bowl combine all ingredients for the salad.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.

Mix the dressing into salad until well-distributed.  Sprinkle reserved pomegranate seeds on top.  Serve immediately. 

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