It’s not even Thanksgiving and here I am wrapping up a Christmas present for you. It’s called Christmas because it’s red and green, and bejeweled with seasonal treats like oranges, walnuts and pomegranates.
The fact that’s it’s healthy is purely by accident, I swear. I just thought about the flavors of the season. That’s why there’s port-soaked cranberries, juicy orange bits, crunchy jicama and bright kale. OK, jicama might not be the first holiday ingredient you think of, but it’s a wonderful addition, trust me.
I wanted another crunchy element, so I toasted some walnuts, another a holiday treat — or am I the only one who got oranges and walnuts in her Christmas stocking? (Neither were as treasured as the book of LifeSavers.)
A traditional chopped salad is sometimes presented in rows of ingredients, with the dressing served on the side.
But, being the control freak that I am, I like to reign over how much dressing goes on the salad (do you really want to leave this crucial detail up to your guests? What if they don’t have a clue about how much is enough? Or they’re too polite to use as much as they should, thinking less is more?)
To avoid all that pressure, I toss it myself. And I sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top to make it extra holiday-ish. I love this salad. Even if it is good for me.
Christmas Kale Chopped Salad
How to describe the fresh, vibrant taste of this salad? Fantastic! The fresh ground cardamom is a pleasant, exotic surprise. I love the crunchy textures, the tart-but-sweet cranberries and pomegranate seeds. In a word? Christmasy.
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup ruby port (or apple juice)
Zest from 2 medium navel oranges
Juice from those 2 oranges after the sections have been removed
1-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Stir the cranberries and port together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil and turn off the heat. Steep the cranberries while you make the dressing.
After zesting and removing the sections from the oranges, squeeze the juice from the pulp into a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, mint, agave nectar (or honey), cardamom, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
Place the chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Cut the orange sections into bite size pieces and add to the kale. Add the jicama and walnuts. Drain the steeped cranberries and add them to the salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Divide salad between six salad plates. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.