My friend, Gini, whips up this gorgeous salad every Christmas! Her Holiday Lettuce Salad is full of candied almonds, apple, mandarin oranges, and dried cranberries. This terrific dish was served at a bridal shower I recently co-hosted and I got numerous requests for the recipe–it’s that good!!!
Holiday Lettuce Salad
This salad is simple enough to whip up for a Sunday night family dinner, but also notable enough to serve for a special occasion like a bridal shower or holiday. The candied almonds take a few minutes to cook, but they’re really simple after you get the hang of it. Add the sugar to a saute pan and turn on the heat. Then toss in the almonds and stir. It will take a minute or two before the sugar starts to melt, but you don’t want to hurry things along or you might end up with a burnt mess. You continue to cook and stir, till the sugar is totally melted and the almonds darken to a golden brown. These sugar coated nuts are part of what makes this an irresistible salad.
A Melange of Ingredients and Textures
The almonds add crunch, the cranberries have a chewy bite, the oranges are tender and sweet and the apples are crisp and tart. A simple and sweet dressing brings it all together. If you want to cut your apples ahead of time, go ahead and make the dressing early, too. Toss the cut apples in a bit of the dressing and the vinegar will prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. Besides the outstanding flavors, the bright colors of green, orange and red make this holiday lettuce salad a picture perfect addition to any table!
Serves: 4-6 servings
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 bag of lettuce
- 1 small granny smith apple, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 11-ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 3 green onions, sliced (white and light green ends)
- Combine almonds with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a saute pan. Cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and almonds are light brown. Cool on wax paper.
- In a small liquid measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil while whisking continuously. Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, apples, oranges, cranberries and green onions. Toss with dressing before serving.