Holiday Salad, Hold the Jell-O

I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating – a well composed salad is, to me, the most delightful part of a meal.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not so highbrow that I cannot enjoy a  Jell-O salad (just ask my mother-in-law), but this salad has the perfect combination of winter flavors. The tartness of the pomegranate, the bitterness of the Brussel sprouts, the sweetness of the dressing, the crunch of the pistachio, and the richness of the Manchego cheese. PLEASE make this your holiday salad this year. And every year after.

Holiday Salad, Hold the Jell-O

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad:

1 four oz. bag baby arugula (or baby spinach)

about 15 medium Brussel Sprouts, shaved on a mandoline or thinly sliced, stems excluded.

half of a small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water (optional)

1/4 C. pistachios, finely chopped (hazelnuts or walnuts are a good substitute)

seeds from half a pomegranate

shaved Manchego Cheese

Prep all of the ingredients except the cheese.  Place the greens and Brussel’s in a large bowl and set aside.  I like to soak my sliced onions in ice water when I am using them raw because they give me heartburn.  The water helps draw out some of the sulfur, which is what makes an onion hot and burny (and onions are especially hot and burny this time of year). You can do this step several hours in advance if you, too, are sensitive to raw onions. Place the pom seeds and the crushed nuts into their own small bowls, as they will be used to garnish the salad.

For the Sweet Mustard Dressing:

2 tsp. balsamic or sherry vinegar

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

2 Tbsp. honey

1/4 C. olive oil (or, try toasted hazelnut or walnut oil if using those nuts in your salad)

generous pinch of salt

Shake the ingredients together in a mason jar with a tight lid.  You may have to do this several times to allow the honey to dissolve. The dressing should be quite sweet to compensate for the bitter and tart components of the salad.

When you are ready to assemble, toss the dressing with the greens, sprouts, and drained and rinsed onions.  Transfer to a platter or fancy bowl and sprinkle with the nuts and pomegranate seeds.  Shave the Manchego cheese over the top using a vegetable peeler.

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