What’s your take on salad at Thanksgiving? We usually skip it. Most of my family members would rather save their stomach real estate for extra helpings of stuffing and pie. Plus, we’ve fasted all day in preparation for the feast, and no one wants their first bite to be…lettuce.
But this year I’m hoping to do things differently. I think there is room on the table (and in our stomachs) for a salad, and I promise the one I’m about to offer up won’t disappoint. In fact, it might be your favorite dish of the day. Well, except for the pie. Nobody loves veggies more than me, but even I know their place in that hierarchy.
Still, I cannot sing the praises of this salad enough. I’m completely obsessed. It’s basically everything that’s delicious about fall in one bowl: tender baby kale, honeycrisp apples, tart pomegranate seeds, crunchy walnuts, sweet figs, and OMG the dressing. It’s from a 2010 issue of Cook’s Country, and I honestly don’t know how I have missed it for the past four years. Oh well. The past is the past.
This recipe makes more dressing than you will need for one salad. That’s a good thing! It will keep for about a week in the fridge, and you will want to pour it over everything. This salad is filled with some of my favorite ingredients, but feel free to improvise. Over the weekend I want to try a variation with baby spinach, pecans, and dried cherries.
Ultimate Fall Salad with Cranberry-Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as an appetizer
Dressing adapted from Cook’s Country
For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup fresh cranberries
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 (5-ounce) package baby kale
1/2 large honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
For the vinaigrette, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and let cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and process until well blended. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
To assemble the salad, combine the kale, apple, pomegranate seeds, dried figs, and walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss just before serving.