For the second time in two decades, we went out for Thanksgiving this year. Considering it’s our favorite holiday with “must-have” dishes, we decided to make a reservation instead and it was lovely.
We’ve had a pretty hectic schedule lately so we took the easy road. This meant I was free from the chains of the exhausting annual tradition of Thanksgiving meal planning, shopping, chopping, cooking and cleaning up. The extent of my effort was dialing for a restaurant that still had a two-top waiting for us.
Dining out during the holidays is a big thing in Santa Fe. Yes, many tourists are here and need a place to celebrate, but there are also plenty of locals who are no longer up for cooking the big holiday meal at home. Though we ate out, I still may make a few of our favorite dishes for us to enjoy throughout the month of December.
Start with Salad
One of our holiday traditions is to start the celebration on a healthy note with a hearty and colorful salad. I call it holiday salad and it’s an ideal way to sate your hunger prior to loading up on turkey and stuffing and all the sides.
Fresh mixed greens are tossed with your choice of seasonal fruit (pomegranate seeds, pears, apples, orange or grapefruit segments), toasted nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts) and soft cheese (goat cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola) and a tasty vinaigrette. Though we did have an arugula salad on Thanksgiving Day, it wasn’t what I traditionally love to start the gluttonous holiday with and the craving for a good salad was still sitting with me.
Changing Up the Holidays
In honor of changing things up for the holidays, I have had my eye on this apple and walnut salad from Detoxinista for quite a while. It is easy to make, supremely delicious and appeals to all palates. We were invited to a post-Thanksgiving gathering of a few friends and I made this salad. Not surprisingly, it was a hit. While I don’t usually lean on balsamic vinegar for salad dressing, that’s exactly what makes this salad pop.
The combination of crisp Romaine lettuce, mixed greens and tart Granny Smith apples partner with sweet red onion, earthy walnuts and tangy feta cheese to make a sensational salad that could easily be a meal if you add a bit of protein. The flavors and textures and colors make a bright salad that invites everyone to eat with their eyes.
Apple Walnut Salad
This colorful and tasty salad will brighten your holiday table and ensure everyone eats their greens for the day.
For the salad
- 6 cups mixed greens I like to use a combo of crispy Romaine and mixed greens
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple chopped
- 1/4 red onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut chopped
- 1/3 cup feta crumbled
For the salad dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
- pinch of salt
To make the vinaigrette
To prepare the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a small jar and shake well to combine. Or use a whisk to blend.
To make the salad
Place mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Top with the chopped apple, red onion, toasted walnuts and feta.
Before serving, generously drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well so everything gets evenly coated.
Reserve any remaining vinaigrette in the fridge for up to a week.