Festive salads are one of the best parts of the holidays. There are so many interpretations of a Christmas Salad, but I’ve found this one is simple yet delicious. This Christmas Salad has all the best colors of the holidays and a delicious vinaigrette to boot!
With all the heavy foods of Christmas, it’s nice to include some lighter options. This side dish feels celebratory but is healthy enough to give your body a reset. It looks gourmet, making it the ultimate healthy dish for parties. Serve it in a gorgeous bowl, and you have a side dish that’s both easy and smart.
The best thing about Christmas Salad is that you can switch it up to include what you have on hand. No one can complain as long as you stick to the red and green color palate! Here’s a little inspiration.
- Swap the strawberries for dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds.
- Use fresh mandarins instead of canned ones.
- Save your mandarin orange juice and add a dash to the vinaigrette.
- Swap the oranges for juicy peaches.
- Change up the lettuce by using spinach or arugula.
- Serve the vinaigrette on the side, especially if you’re waiting a while to eat.
- Swap goat cheese for feta, or make the salad dairy-free with vegan mozzarella shreds.
- To lighten the salad up even more, use liquid stevia instead of honey.
- Use pecans or slivered almonds instead of walnuts.
- You can also make this salad into a festive salad bar. Simply set out all ingredients separately instead of mixing them.
Christmas Salad Ingredients
A brilliant salad that doesn’t require any crazy ingredients, what could be better? This salad is the perfect way to jumpstart your New Year’s goals. Long gone are the days when holiday salads meant gelatin and cool whip. Healthy salads are in, and they’re here to stay.
You probably have quite a few of these things on hand, but if not, here’s what you need to add to your shopping list.
The salad pictured uses 1 small tub of Spring mix. I love this blend because it’s a nice mix of mild and robust lettuce. I recommend darker greens for this salad to get all possible nutritional benefits.
Berries add a gorgeous pop of color and sweetness. Use fresh strawberries if possible; frozen ones will get slushy and give this side dish an odd texture. Slice the strawberries thinly to make them stretch further.
Another cheery ingredient, mandarin oranges give this salad a bright citrus note. You can use fresh or canned; just be sure to drain the oranges before adding them to the salad.
Some Christmas Salad recipes call for feta cheese, but the creaminess of goat cheese works best with strawberries. Use a plain or flavored variety, your kitchen, your rules! I purchased my goat cheese pre-crumbled to keep it simple.
Every salad needs a little crunch. Walnuts are a great source of healthy fat that keeps you full. They’re so rich and pair well with goat cheese. You can toast your walnuts beforehand if desired.
I prefer freshly pressed garlic, but you can also use minced. Depending on how much of a garlic fan you are, you may have to add extra if going this route.
Apple cider vinegar.
Vinaigrettes taste better with a note of acidity. Apple cider vinegar keeps it mild yet interesting. I recommend getting apple cider vinegar with “the mother” because that’s where all the benefits lie.
Honey is my sweetener of choice for this delicious dressing. Syrupy sweeteners tend to work best, and honey dissolves without a single issue.
I used smooth Dijon mustard, but you can always choose something milder. I recommend going the smooth route since grainy mustards may add an odd texture to the dish.
Minced onion infuses the vinaigrette with a little bite. If you prefer, you can soak the minced onion in a little water to soften it.
The base for my dressing is olive oil. I love the hearty flavor it gives salads, taking on the essence of whatever it’s paired with. I use extra-virgin olive oil, but if you prefer something more robust, use that.
How to Make Christmas Salad
This recipe comes together in a snap. It’s as simple as tossing a few ingredients in a bowl and whipping up a delicious dressing. Easy recipes are good for the soul, especially during busy seasons.
Here’s how this Christmas Salad comes together.
Step One: Prep the Ingredients
Wash the strawberries and greens. Slice the berries and chop the walnuts into smaller pieces, if desired. Set aside.
Step Two: Assemble the Christmas Salad
In a large bowl, toss the greens, strawberries, goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarins until combined. Do this gently to keep the mandarins intact.
Step Three: Make the Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, minced onion, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking to emulsify.
Step Four: Toss and Serve
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss to coat. Enjoy!
This salad is fantastic as a light lunch. If you’re serving it as part of a meal, try one of these fantastic dishes to create a full menu.
Homemade Corn Casserole: This gorgeous dish features red and green peppers, so it fits the color scheme to a tee. It’s rich, creamy, and made entirely from scratch.
Garlic Smashed Potatoes: These potatoes are a bit crisp and extremely flavorful. Plus, they’re easy, sticking with our simple aesthetic.
Prime Rib Roast. This delicious prime rib roast is a total showstopper. It’s juicy, rich, and never fails to impress a crowd.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. Turkey breast is an economical alternative to cooking the whole bird. It’s also less time-consuming, appealing to busy chefs everywhere. This particular recipe comes together in the slow cooker, leaving your oven free for other side dishes.Print
4 cups greens (Spring mix, spinach, etc.)
1 (15-ounce) can of mandarin orange sections, drained
1 cup strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 cloves garlic, freshly pressed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Wash the greens and strawberries. Slice the berries and chop the walnuts, if desired.
- In a large bowl, toss the greens, oranges, berries, goat cheese, and walnuts. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, minced onion, rosemary salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Add the olive oil and whisk to emulsify.
What’s your favorite Christmas Salad? Let us know in the comments!