Cranberry Pecan Salad with Blue Cheese is perfect for the holidays. This mesclun salad is a flavorful spring salad mix that's topped with a light vinaigrette, crunchy pecans, dried cranberries and Blue cheese. This holiday salad is perfect for your Christmas or Thanksgiving table but is really tasty all year round.
Perfect Holiday Salad
It's three days before Christmas and I'm still contemplating over my holiday menu. My extended family is coming to our house for lunch on Christmas Eve day, so I thought I'd do a simpler holiday spread than an elaborate five-course holiday meal.
I know we will be having a spiral Christmas ham with fresh rolls. I also must have an antipasto and veggie tray. My daughter is a vegetarian so I will also make my easy vegetarian pasta recipe. We will be having fabulous cookies and salted caramels for dessert too. My sister makes every kind of cookie you can imagine and a few will be sitting on a plate in front of me. So much for the light lunch I thought I would make!
So to balance out all the carbs, meat and sugar everyone will be consuming, I thought I'd put together this easy recipe for a Christmas salad which is a bit lighter but still delicious for my holiday table. It really doesn't have to be served on a holiday as I serve it year-round. But since it contains cranberries and toasted pecans, it spells festive holiday salad to me.
Ingredients For Cranberry Pecan Salad
- Mesclun or Spring Mix - Feel free to use other greens.
- Dried Cranberries- Or substitute juicy pomegranate seeds.
- Toasted pecans - Almonds or walnuts are also good.
- Blue Cheese Crumbles - if you don't like the strong taste of blue cheese you could use feta cheese, white cheddar cheese or even creamy goat cheese.
Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients
- Extra-Virgin Olive oil - Or use your favorite olive oil.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - You can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard - This gives the tangy dressing lots of zip.
- Maple Syrup - For a touch of sweetness.
- Salt and black pepper - to taste
Note on ingredients:
Everyone likes a different amount of dressing on their salad so start with a little then keep adding more. Depending on how bulky your lettuce mix is, you could need more or less. If you need a bit more, you can add a few more drops of oil and vinegar.
What Is Mesclun Salad?
Mesclun salad is an assorted mix of baby greens. Also called spring salad mix, the lettuce is harvested at just 3-4 weeks when the greens are still tender but is available all year round. Mesclun salad mixes can be mild or spicy and is usually indicated on the package. They are perfect to create a simple green salad or a more elegant salad for the holiday season.
Dressing for Salad
The dressing on this Cranberry Pecan Salad with Blue Cheese is delicious. I made a vinaigrette using mustard and maple syrup. I found a cranberry mustard in a specialty food store which I have used to elevate things. It was wonderful however cranberry mustard is not something you can find all the time so dijon mustard works just fine.
Prepping the Salad in Advance
To make this salad ahead of time, mix dressing and keep in a small airtight container in the fridge. The best way to keep this festive Christmas salad fresh is to add the dressing last minute before serving. Mix all other salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep chilled. Pour the dressing and mix right before serving so the salad does not get soggy.
The great thing about this festive salad is that you can leave out or add anything you like. Here are some ideas:
- Vary the salad greens - Instead of using a mesclun mix, try some peppery arugula or baby spinach.
- Salad Garnish - Add an extra garnish to this Christmas salad recipe. You could use pomegranate arils, crunchy pistachios, sunflower seeds or some thinly sliced red onion.
- Seasonal produce - Add whatever is in season and works for you in this salad. I like fresh orange segments, shredded brussels sprouts, apple slices or thinly sliced fresh pears.
- Main Dish Salad - If you'd like this to be a more hearty salad you can add a protein like grilled chicken. It would be a beautiful main course for a holiday luncheon.
More Holiday Salad Ideas
- Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese, Grapes and Almonds
- Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Strawberry Avocado Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Walnuts
- Winter Holiday Salad from Maple and Mango
Whether you make this for the holidays or as a refresher in the dead of summer, you will love this Cranberry Pecan Salad.
If you like this spring salad mix with pecans, please leave a 5-star rating.
Cranberry, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 6 to 8 cups baby greens
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- ½ cup toasted pecans chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and water. Set aside.
- Arrange the baby greens in a salad bowl. Top with the cranberries and blue cheese.
- Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad and toss. Sprinkle with pecans.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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