Winter salads often feel uninspiring, like the unwanted step-sister to the glory that is spring and summer salads. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Every December I try to come up with a festive salad that you’d actually be excited to make and eat. Here are the holiday salads for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 (2020 didn’t get a salad, because, well, 2020 turned things a bit upside down). This year’s salad is definitely a favorite and I hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays!
FIG AND CRANBERRY SALAD WITH CANDIED WALNUTS AND BALSAMIC HONEY DRESSING
makes 2 large, entree sized salads or 4 side salads
3 to 3.5 oz greens
1 cup fresh, whole cranberries
1 cup mixed fresh herbs*
3oz brie, chopped into bite sized pieces
4-6 ripe figs, cut into halves or quarters**
6-8 slices speck, cut into bite sized pieces
candied walnuts (recipe below)
balsamic honey dressing (recipe below)
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
several pinches of cayenne pepper
heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
balsamic honey dressing:
1/4 cup walnut oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt and black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Toss all the spiced walnut ingredients together in a bowl. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway. You want the walnuts to be toasted and fragrant but not starting to burn. Set walnuts aside to cool.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Put fresh cranberries in a small food processor or blender. Blitz on high for a few seconds at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stop blending as soon as there are no whole cranberries left.
4. Gently toss together the greens, herbs, and blitzed cranberries in a large bowl. Add some of the balsamic honey dressing, toss a few times, then give it a taste and add more dressing if needed. Serve the greens onto either 2 large entree plates or 4 salad plates. Top each salad equally with the brie, figs, speck, and spiced walnuts.
*your choice of herbs, I used a combo of chives, chervil, oregano, and marjoram… mint would also be a nice addition
**if you have trouble finding fresh figs, try substituting pear slices or persimmon wedges
One thought on “fig and cranberry salad with candied walnuts and balsamic honey dressing”
This looks really inviting!
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