Step up your holiday salad game with this Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad with layers of seasonal favorites, crumbled feta cheese, fresh cranberries, glazed walnuts then topped with a Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette; an easy, must make for any holiday entertaining table.
Does your family assign part of the holiday meal to ensure the host isn’t stuck with all the pressure? It’s a great idea, but I never knew how much I’d hate being assigned salad. Side dishes and desserts are more my jam, but alas, I was once assigned salad.
If you know anything about me at all, it’s that typical is not the way I roll and I do love a challenge. I considered this a personal challenge assigned to me and while I could have easily tossed some lettuce in a bowl with cucumbers and tomatoes and called it a day, I took this opportunity to change the way I felt about being assigned the most passed over dish at the dinner table.
In my family, we don’t even offer salad during the holidays. We go straight to the main meal wasting no belly space with greens. I’m sure at some point, there might have been salad but I do not recollect it whether that’s because I kept the salad bowl moving when it was passed to me, or we just never served it.
But then I joined my husband’s family and they always have salad. Nothing fancy, just a green salad. Always.
And then the dreaded moment arrived for me to take a turn with making the salad.
I researched this thing. I set out to make the best darn Fall salad there was, even did a trial run with this recipe and guess what happened? My in-laws decided we go out for dinner instead, leaving my salad skills and research unneeded.
All was not lost, though. That self-assigned “challenge” and delicious Fall Harvest Salad taught me that a salad CAN compete on the holiday table if it deviates from the same ole’ boring salad that folks are expecting.
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped (can also use arugula, baby spinach or a combination)
- 1/2 cup black grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, thawed if frozen
- 3/4 cup glazed walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- Core and slice apples. Toss lettuce, apples, walnuts, feta and cranberries together in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing: In a blender or food processor, combine ingredients and process until smooth and very little cranberry pulp remains.
While the grapes can be halved prior to assembling the salad, leave the cranberries whole as to not bleed all over the lettuce.
This Apple Cranberry Walnut Crunch Salad combines everything I love about the Fall season. The apples and glazed walnuts are where it gets its crunch, while the grapes and cranberries keep things super juicy and colorful. The crumbled feta cheese gives it some tang, and then the Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette finishes things off and blends it all together. It’s fresh and bright and downright beautiful with its pops of red and black.
Speaking of beauty, I dare say deconstructed salads (here’s my Tropical Fruit Salad ) are a thing of beauty. It’s weirdly gratifying to separate all the ingredients for a show-stopping presentation.
Try it this Thanksgiving!