When it comes to planning a holiday spread, a salad is often an afterthought. Stately roasts, crowd-pleasing potatoes and sultry pies tend to grab the spotlight, and by the time we think, “Oh, yeah, we should probably have a salad,” a bag of mixed lettuces and a container of cherry tomatoes might be all we can muster up.
But there are good reasons to give salad its due consideration. A salad adds some critical lightness and crunch to a hearty meal. It also can be one of the vegetarian offerings that help nonmeat eaters make a real dinner out of what is often a meat-centered holiday feast.
Salads also can be out-and-out beautiful, with very little work. Here, a few types of lettuces mingle with slivers of red onion, tart apples and cranberries, and creamy goat cheese, tied together with a zippy dressing. You could add some chopped pecans or walnuts, or slivered almonds on top if you like (skip this if you are concerned about nut allergies).
This stunner comes together in 20 minutes. It is a bowl of vibrant color and texture that seems anything but a postscript to the menu.
WINTER GREENS, APPLE, CRANBERRY AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH SHERRY-MUSTARD DRESSING
Make dressing: Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in container; shake well. Set aside.
In large bowl, combine endive, spinach, arugula and onion. Add apples and about 3/4 of cranberries; toss to combine. Shake dressing once more, drizzle over salad, and toss to coat.
Transfer salad to serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cranberries and goat cheese. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 222 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 449 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 6 g protein.