Day 259: Festive Holiday Salad ♥

Festive Holiday Salad, another easy, seasonal salad ♥
graphic button small size size 10 My signature salad during the holidays, the one that friends both know to expect and request specially. It easily stretches from one or two to a crowd, no measuring or fuss. Make it at the last minute or make it ahead of time, this easy green salad is extra tasty and festive! graphic button small size size 10


No feigning political correctness here, no entering into the politically charged holiday vs Christmas vs winter lexicon debate.

Truth is, this is my favorite holiday salad, my favorite Christmas salad and my favorite all-winter salad from Thanksgiving to Valentine's.

It's easy to assemble either ahead of time or at the last minute, easy to make in small batches for a couple of people having supper at home or in big batches for buffets, parties and potlucks.

And if there happen to be leftovers, you won't mind. Picking out the cranberries and walnuts and cheese might be the very best part!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
A few, or many, as needed

All amounts are flexible, to limit calories, go easy on the nuts, cranberries and cheese, even if they are the extra-good bits

Fresh soft lettuce greens
Low-fat Caesar dressing, thinned with a little milk
Toasted walnut pieces
Dried cranberries
Crumbles of a good stinky cheese (gorgonzola, a good blue, etc)
Sprinkle of good salt

Wash and tear the greens, make sure they're completely dry. Just before serving, lightly dress the greens. Toss with walnuts, cranberries and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

MAKE-AHEAD I'm famous for bringing this salad to Christmas gatherings! I prep all the ingredients but transport them separately, all tucked into a big wooden salad bowl. Just before serving, assemble the salad, it takes all of two minutes!

THE GREENS For greens, I return again and again to leafy red lettuce but many would work, including something with a little sharpness such as arugula.
THE DRESSING The holidays can be so overwhelming, I've become famous for Festive Holiday Salad without letting it become one more thing for me to overdo. I rarely buy salad dressing but for once, for this, I do, a low-fat Caesar – and then I thin the dressing with milk. The idea is to barely coat the greens, just lightly, not with gloppy abandon. I've even been known to grab a packet of dressing from the grocery store salad bar – it works in a pinch but honestly, those packets aren't the best. I've also used one homemade dressing, it's the house dressing and is nearly always on hand – that makes Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing even more convenient than remembering to buy salad dressing.
TOASTING THE WALNUTS Could you use other nuts? Sure but I must say, I'm sold on walnuts, they're somehow softer than other nuts. That said? I nearly always have a jar of Maple-Glazed Pecans on hand, they're decidedly tasty too. To toast the walnuts, spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast at 400F/200C for about ten minutes until beginning to darken and turning aromatic. I usually toast a whole bagful, then keep them in the fridge. Nearly always, toasted walnuts are 50x better than untoasted walnuts!

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Still Hungry?


~ Simple Arugula Salad ~
~ Celery, Date & Walnut Salad ~
~ Celery & Apple Salad ~
~ Watercress, Clementine & Blue Cheese Salad ~
~ more green salad recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Apple Yogurt Salad ~
~ Winter Fruit Salad ~
~ Holiday Fruit Parfait with Yogurt, Cranberries, Applesauce, Pineapple & Kiwi ~
~ more salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column


(ha! so few! who's excited about vegetables the week before Christmas?!)
Festive Holiday Salad Festive Celery, Cauliflower and Apple Salad Turkey Florentine Pumpkin Fruitcake My Best & Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005 & 2018

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Ok, this one had me reaching for my South Beach guide to see what they said about dried cranberries, but they weren't listed. In moderate amounts I would think they should be considered a "good" food, certainly lower in sugar than raisins, and such a tasty little morsel in a recipe like this. I can tell I would love this, and I've been in something of a salad rut, so thanks for the recipe.

  2. Will this help? Or not?! Here's what the USDA reports in the nutrition analysis software called Accuchef that I use:

    Per ounce: 87 Cal (4% from Fat, 0% from Protein, 96% from Carb); 0 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 3 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 1 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol

    Per tablespoon: 23 Cal (4% from Fat, 0% from Protein, 96% from Carb); 0 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 6 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 1 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 0 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. (So sorry, as of 4/23/22, I’ve had to turn comments off to prevent hundreds of spam comments a day. Stupid Spammers.) ~ Alanna