Festive Spinach Cranberry Salad adds sparkle to feast

By From the Heart | Carol Jessen-Klixbull |Taste of the Diocese

Dec 23

For Thanksgiving, I had all the ingredients readied for my favorite romaine salad when I learned of the Centers for Disease Control warning to not eat that succulent, crisp lettuce. I was thankful spinach was not a no-no and that its tender, green leaves were a perfect fit with the dressing and other ingredients.

On Friday I brought this salad to a Christmas potluck for diocesan employees. I’m happy to have the opportunity to share it with readers of From the Heart as the last recipe in this holiday season’s Cranberry Collection. It’s a fresh, delicious and healthy side to serve at Christmastime. The dark green spinach leaves and red cranberries are especially attractive for this time of year. Merry Christmas!

Spinach Cranberry Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Dressing
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup oil
1 tbsp. poppy seed

Salad
16 oz. baby spinach
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup cashews, roughly chopped (some of the nuts should remain whole)
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 apple, cubed*
2 pears, cubed*

Combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard and salt in blender. Cover; process until blended. With machine running, add oil in slow steady stream, processing until thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds; process a few seconds to mix.

*Do not cut up fruit until right before serving.

In large serving bowl, gently combine all salad ingredients. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad immediately before serving; toss to coat.
Yield: 12-16 servings

A note from Carol:

I usually make a double batch of the salad dressing and store it in a quart jar. This double recipe can be used for several salads. I prefer to add only a light coating of the dressing instead of using a full recipe for one salad.

*I used one Honeycrisp apple and two ripe Bartlett pears in the salad for the diocesan potluck. I mixed all of the cheese and some of dried cranberries and cashews in the salad. I sprinkled the remainder of the cranberries and cashews on the top for decoration.

My original recipe called for 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese instead of shredded Parmesan and 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 10 cups).

The Food and Drug Administration has declared romaine lettuce safe to eat again as long as it was not grown in California’s Central Coast region.

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