I think it’s safe to say we all enjoy rich food on the holidays, but there’s nothing like a fabulous green salad to lighten up our plates and bellies. This Apple Pomegranate Green Salad with cider vinaigrette will balance out the heaviness of your holiday meal. We eat with our eyes so the beautiful colors of the salad will get attention and hopefully disappear as fast as the rest of the holiday table spread.
What type of Greens should I use?
For this salad, I’d use a mixed greens mix of red and green lettuce, baby arugula or a “spring mix” which is a mix of greens, baby lettuce & sometimes radicchio. You can add some baby spinach or kale leaves as well if you like, but I do recommend you de-stem them if you decide to add them in.
How to Make Apple Pomegranate Salad
When I make this salad I always start by making the vinaigrette dressing first. After I get the rest of the ingredients together, if I’m close to serving the salad I slice up the apple and immediately coat the apple slices in a small bowl with the dressing. This keeps the apples from turning. Then I add my greens to a large bowl with the cranberries. Once I’m ready to serve the salad I add the apples along with the dressing, drizzle more dressing, add the cheese and arils (pomegranate seeds) and toss to coat.
How to Make Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or mason jar with a lid. Whisk or shake it up and voila, your slightly sweet and tangy vinaigrette dressing is ready to pour and serve. Be sure to store the dressing in an airtight container if you do not use it all. If you made the dressing in a mason jar, you’re set to store it in there already. This is the post for the full apple cider vinaigrette recipe.
How to Serve this Festive Salad
This is a great fall salad to serve up for a dinner party or anytime in the holiday season. When you want a fairly quick and easy salad to put together that will make a beautiful addition to the table; Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. It’ll look fabulous on the table besides being a delicious salad! Serve it in a large salad bowl pre-mixed with the dressing for people, but have some extra crumbly cheese, pecans, walnuts or pumpkin seeds available on the side if some like the addition of nuts in their salad.
Fresh Fall Flavors
Why is this a fall or winter salad vs a spring salad? That is the time of year pomegranates are readily available to us. October to January is when you can find pomegranates readily available in stores. You’ll see cups of pomegranate seeds for sale in your local grocery store or Costco in packs really cheap! This is a delicious fall harvest salad that shines because of fall flavors like arils, fresh apple and cranberries.
Prep, but don’t Dress & Mix Early
Do not dress the salad till you are ready to serve it. I’d also wait to add the apples, arils, and crumbly cheese till you are ready to serve. If you need to have the apples ready to go, make the dressing first, then just coat the fresh apple slices with the dressing till you are ready to serve. The dressing will keep the apples from browning. I don’t recommend doing it more than an hour before serving if you’re prepping other things.
Apple Pomegranate Green Salad Ingredients
- Mixed Leafy Greens– baby greens, mix of red and green lettuce, baby spinach or kale leaves (stems removed). Any of those types are great.
- Apples– Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji, or Honeycrisp Apple would be great. Slightly sweet juicy apples are perfect. You just want that subtle sweet crunch of the apples in the salad.
- Salty Cheese Crumbles– Tangy Feta cheese, “stinky”, yummy crumbles like blue cheese or gorgonzola all go great in this salad. I think in this case the cheese choice is yours! People can be picky about cheeses, so these are just my recommendations to pair well with this salad.
- Pomegranate Arils– Juicy, sweet pomegranate seeds. Whether you enjoy removing them from the pomegranates yourself or just pouring them out of the cups, these are the little “stars” of this salad.
Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Apple Cider Vinegar– I like to use ACV with the “mother” because it has all those great bacteria in it that’s good for you.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Use your best olive oil. Anytime you make a salad dressing use the good stuff, not your cheapest.
- Honey– If you don’t want to use honey, you can sub it out for maple syrup, but I prefer the taste of honey in this personally.
- Dijon Mustard– A little goes a long way. You can of course use a different type of mustard if you prefer.
- Garlic– 1 small clove, pressed. Same thing…just a little so the garlic doesn’t over-power the dressing.
- Salt & Pepper– I just add 1/4 tsp of each to the dressing, but after you dress that salad add just a little pink sea salt to plated salads or to the final mix, just before serving. It helps bring out all the flavors.
Toppings for Apple Pomegranate Salad
- Nuts– I love nuts like toasted crunchy pecans, almonds, or candied walnuts in a salad like this. My boys don’t like nuts in their salad and you might have some guests that feel the same way. I’d leave it on the side as an option unless you know you have nut lovers.
- Onion– I love thinly sliced red onion in this salad, but once again, not everyone does. Also can be left optional
- Wicked Crunchies– Yes, I said wicked crunchies (that’s just my made-up name for this category of salad toppings) In my house, my guys love crispy fried onions on their holiday salads. Also, thanks to Trader Joe’s and Costco we also sometimes have crunchy fried jalapenos and “crispy dillies” this time of year in the house. My guys love adding these addictive crunchy salad toppings to their salads as well.
Apple Pomegranate Green Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
Apple Pomegranate Salad Base
- 16 oz. fresh mixed greens
- 1 medium apple cored, quartered & sliced thin lengthwise
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4- 1 cup pomegranate arils About 1/2 of a large pomegranate
- 3/4 cup Feta Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola crumbles
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted
- 1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
Make the Dressing
- Just add all of your vinaigrette ingredients to a small mason jar with a lid, shake it up until the honey is fully incorporated or put it in a small bowl and whisk.
Build the Salad
- *I do not recommend putting your salad together till you are close to serving it. If you’re using fresh pomegranate you can remove the arils and refrigerate them till you are ready to use them*
- Once you’re close to serving. Slice up the apple. I use a mandoline to slice it on the lowest setting. It’s nice to have it as thin as your greens to that it’s like part of the greens in your salad.
- Immediately coat the sliced apple with some of your dressing to keep them from turning brown.
- Add greens to a large mixing bowl or the salad bowl you’ll be serving it in. Add the apples, cranberries and arils, give it a good toss or stir and then add the amount of dressing you like. (I’d say I use about half of the dressing that I pre-made) Serve remaining dressing on the side.
- Add your crumbled cheese, toss and serve!
- *Optional- Add a few twists of pink or black sea salt before serving to give your salad an extra little boost. This brings out all the yummy flavors even more.