A Salad For The Holidays
And just like that we’re into the chaos of the holiday season! Our calendar gets booked up with open houses and parties every weekend. It’s a wonderful time of year – but the festivities and frenzied pace can quickly take their toll on your body and soul if you aren’t careful. One strategy I’ve put into play for a long time is to bring something plant-based to every gathering. For my own Thanksgiving last week where we hosted family, I added this Make Ahead Salad from Real Simple Magazine. I wanted to try it out ahead, so I first made it for a Friendsgiving that we held at my office earlier in the week. To be honest, the first time I made it I was cursing the editorial staff at Real Simple. While the ingredient list is rather short (kale, Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds) – each ingredient needs quite a bit of attention. The hazelnuts need to be roasted and then you need to rub the skin off. The Brussels sprouts need to be chopped up very finely in a food processor (and I only own a very small food processor).
My daughter was helping me de-seed a pomegranate on a Sunday night, way past her bed-time, when she said to me, “You know – you can buy pomegranate seeds already out of the pomegranate. They come in a plastic container.”
My second making of the salad went so much more smoothly. What did I do differently? Well I bought the POM Pomegranate Fresh Arils. I also bought hazelnuts that were already de-skinned. They toasted up just as nicely in the oven.
This salad is a little bit of effort, but it’s worth it! At the Friendsgiving, I had several people tell me it was their favorite dish of the event. One of my colleagues told me that he is an avid meat-eater, but the salad was what he liked the most. The salad was also a bit hit at Thanksgiving – and it was just in time for the news of the E. coli outbreak linked to Romaine lettuce.
A few more benefits of this salad:
· You can make it ahead – even put some of the dressing on it – because the kale and Brussels sprouts hold up so well. I made it the night before each event. Make Ahead Salad is a good name!
· It holds up for days. This salad has some serious staying power! We were able to eat leftovers for a couple of days after.
· It adds something green to the table. So often the holiday spreads are all carbs and butter.
· You can keep it healthy – or add some “celebration.” The recipe calls for homemade bread crumbs (which I made) – and they smelled amazing. I’m gluten-free, so I kept them separate from the salad.
· It’s not Romaine. I just had to say it again. I’m so glad that I didn’t serve my entire office a Romaine salad the week before Thanksgiving.
We loved this so much, we’ll be making it even after we ring in 2019!
Make Ahead Salad recipe is here.
For more holiday tips, check out my 2017 post, the Twelve Days of Stress-Less Christmas. There are some good nuggets in there. I’m pretty sure that if you’ve gotten to the bottom of this post, you are the Knower of All Things in your household and you are already feeling a little bit stressed about the upcoming holiday.
Here’s to a healthy holiday season!