All my Christmas shopping & wrapping is done. I just have to post the large box filled with gifts for my family back in Australia. It’s a relief to know that the decorating, shopping, wrapping & card writing is done. Now I can relax & contemplate our Christmas menu. Christmas is more laid back than Thanksgiving & the menu will be lighter & healthier than our Thanksgiving feast. Speaking of light & healthy, I tested beautiful salad the other day & was really, really pleased with the results…
It looks Chrissmassy doesn’t it?! And nothing to cook. Everything is raw, making this a perfect, easy side to add to your holiday menu. Perfect with roasted pork, turkey or chicken.
If you can, use a mandoline (V-slicer) to slice the fennel or a food processor which will slice everything up lickety-split in no time flat. When served raw, fennel’s aniseed flavor is subtle & the texture is lovely & crunchy making it a wonderful addition to salads.
Apples go from sweet to savory effortlessly & I love them in salads. I leave the peel on them to add extra color to the salad. Soak them in some acidulated water to stop them browning while you’re prepping the other ingredients. They’ll sit ok for about 20 minutes.
Since discovering how to efficiently remove the seeds from a pomegranate, I’ve fallen in love with this nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit. I’ve seen several demonstrations of people cutting a pomegranate in half & banging on them with a wooden spoon to remove the seeds, I’m sure you’ve seen that demo too. If you want just a few seeds, this is fine but the seeds are located in little pomegranate caves inside the fruit, banging on the fruit won’t get those babies out. Buuuuut…if you cut them into quarters &, holding one of those quarters in both hands, use your thumbs to push on the skin & turn the piece almost inside out…just like you would when you segment mango cheeks. Then I get into all those little caves with a small spoon or my fingers, peeling back the white walls to reveal the seed clusters. It takes about 10 minutes to do this efficiently. And you’re rewarded with these beautiful, jewel-like seeds…
A lone pomegranate yields about 1 cup of seeds. Juicy & crunchy these seeds are a treat to eat. Pomegranate are good for your heart & blood vessels. Being a power antioxidant regular consumption can help lower blood pressure, help depression, lower cholesterol, sweep away plaque from arteries & help prevent certain cancers – they’re touted as being the most antioxidant fruit. And, because of their short season (they’re generally available at their peak September to January in North America) it’s good to know you can store them in a plastic bag for a couple of months in the fridge to be enjoyed later. When they’re not in season you can buy their juice almost everywhere. Topping this pretty salad is watercress…
It’s quickly becoming my favorite green. I’d see it all the time in Asian markets & didn’t think much of it. Sometimes I’d see it in a grocery store looking all limp & sad. Lately though it’s been in the markets looking beautiful so I’ve been adding to our salads & I have to say…I’m impressed. So impressed that I’m going to research how to grow this oft-overlooked, nutrient dense leafy green. The watercress added lovely color to this salad, making it look very festive, but if you can’t find it, arugula (rocket) would be a delicious alternative. The salad minus the watercress.
This salad not only look pretty & tasted fabulous but it was so simple to make & I love there was nothing to cook which makes it a dream when you’re entertaining.
Did I mention how pretty it is? LOL!
Now the dressing…it was a fairly standard Lovoni salad dressing – apple cider vinegar, olive oil, grainy mustard, honey & garlic, but oh-so-good & worked magically with the fruit & veggies in the salad.
A perfect holiday salad. Something light, fresh & pretty during the crazy season of indulgence.
- 1 large pomegranate
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 large green apple
- 1 large red apple
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 4 oz (113g) soft, creamy goat cheese (or feta cheese crumbled), optional
- 2 cups watercress
- fennel tops & celery leaves to garnish, optional
- APPLE MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons grainy (seed) mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- To make the apple mustard vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid. Shake well to combine.
- To remove seeds from pomegranate: Cut pomegranate in quarters, push the skin side like you would a mango that you’d segmented, this allows the seeds to release. Use your fingers to get in and remove the seeds, peeling back any white flesh. Let the seeds fall into a small bowl. You’ll get about 1 cup of seeds from a large pomegranate. Set seeds aside in fridge.
- Trim base of fennel & the tops. Slice fennel thinly – I use a mandoline to get the slices nice & thin.
- Slice apples thinly & place in bowl of water with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to prevent apple browning.
- To assemble salad, arrange sliced fennel, celery, apple slices, cranberries & goat cheese on a platter; top with watercress. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over salad & drizzle with dressing. Garnish with fennel tops & celery leaves.