Whoever said winter was colorless could not have been more misguided.
And this winter beet and pomegranate salad is proof.
I mean, do you see all the color?!? All the reds, greens, yellows and orange? Winter COLOR right there I tell you! I know I have been all about the cheesy, hearty and extra cozy recipes as of late, but behind the scenes I still crave a good salad. Something simple and light, yet full of color…and fruit, I am so a ‘fruit in my salad’ kind of girl.
Since my theme for this week seems to be Christmas Eve Dinner, I feel I should let you know that this salad will definitely be on my table. Ask anyone in my family, this salad always makes an appearance. Typically in a giant bowl and typically with double the pomegranates plus whatever else happens to be in the fridge, usually just a random mix. Maybe some mushrooms, grapefruit, kale, I dunno anything in there is fair game + candied pecans, pomegranates and blue cheese. Those three are always a must.
SOO basically, this is the prettier version of my Christmas Eve salad.
The beets are a new addition though…loving the beets…more to come… and soon!! 🙂
When it comes to recipes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I like to keep them simple. We always have SO many people packed into one house and that just means craziness. I can’t remember a Christmas Eve when mom, dad and I were not running around trying to get dinner on the table. It was hard, there were a lot of people! My mom used to make Christmas Eve Dinner for 30+ when we lived in Ohio… just thinking about preparing for that literally makes me stress…
Go Jenny…aka mom. Despite the huge crowd (and a crazy mother in law) her Christmas Eve party was always the best.
Point is, simple is the name of the game. Especially when it comes to the salad. I have so many other dishes on the table that I want the salad to be able to compliment them all, not stand out with its own intense flavor that just doesn’t pair well with anything else on the table, you know?
I like light and super fresh flavors with a little bit of crunch + um, lots of good cheese. Duh.
I adore the beets in this salad, beets + pomegranates are such a great combo and they’re obviously beautiful too! The maple pecans add a little sweetness and the blue cheese adds serious deliciousness… what, I love blue cheese! I know there are some of you who aren’t blue cheese lovers. I personally think this is crazy, but I get it. It’s moldy cheese, that can be weird. If you’re not into blue cheese try goat cheese or feta.
BUT PLEASE, don’t skimp on the cheese. Salads need cheese. Got it? Get it. Good!
For the dressing I went with my standard, balsamic, fig preserves, and a splash of fresh citrus. This is honestly one of my favorite salad dressings. It’s simple, but full of just the right amount of sweet and tangy flavors, Perfect.
Winter Beet and Pomegranate Salad with Maple Candied Pecans + Balsamic Citrus Dressing.
- 6 beets quartered or cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups raw pecans
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6-8 cups mustard greens or mixed greens
- arils from 1-2 pomegranates
- 6 ounces gorgonzola cheese crumbed (may also use goat cheese or feta)
Balsamic Citrus Dressing
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fig preserves
- 2 teaspoons orange zest + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven 400 degrees F.
Toss the beets together with the olive oil and a good pinch of both salt + pepper. Spread the beets out in an even layer on two baking sheets. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until lightly charred and tender. Allow to cool before adding to the salad.
Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the pecans to the baking sheet and toss with the maple syrup, cayenne and a pinch of salt. Bake (at 400 degrees F.) for 15-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 time throughout cooking until the pecans are toasted and golden. Remove from the oven and spread the pecans in one layer. Allow to cool.
Add the greens to a large bowl. Add the pomegranate arils, beets, pecans and gorgonzola cheese. Give the salad a gentle toss.
To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig preserves, orange zest + juice and a pinch of salt + pepper in a bowl or glass jar. Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve along side the salad. Enjoy!
Winter blues??? Naah, salad in for the win!
P.S. If you are looking for a quick and kind of fancy Christmas Eve meal (or really any nice occasion), check out this yummy steak and pasta dinner, I created for Colorado Homes and Lifestyles Magazine!! SO GOOD and this meal would be perfect when paired with THIS salad!