I started making this salad a few years ago when I needed a last-minute salad to take to a Christmas party. I was in charge of making salad for about 100 people. Not a small feat! I was able to pull together a healthy, delicious simple holiday green salad with ingredients I already had on hand (minus the greens!) The salad was a huge hit at the party and I’ve been making it every year since then.
The salad’s popularity comes from how simple and delicious it is. The vinaigrette is made with fresh orange juice and white wine vinegar with a spicy ginger kick. I’ve made it with both ground and fresh ginger, depending what I had on hand, and both ways are fantastic. The fresh ginger gives it a burst of freshness, but it’s the pinch of cloves and cinnamon that gives it a little something extra that people love, but can’t quite put their finger on. I like to add candied walnuts or pecans for extra crunch and sweetness.
Simple Holiday Green Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
5 ounce container organic mixed baby greens
2-3 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (or one large can mandarin oranges)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup candied walnuts
1/2 cup oil (preferably flavorless like grape seed or safflower)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
big pinch each: ground cloves and cinnamon
Arrange mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Or serve vinaigrette on the side.
In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and spices. While whisking, add the oil in a slow stream. Whisk very well until the vinaigrette is combined. Alternatively, place everything except for the oil into a pint jar and shake well. Add the oil and shake again until combined. Makes about 1 cup of vinaigrette.
Yield: Makes 4 large salads