Festive, fun, and fresh describe my Christmas salad perfectly! This beautiful salad makes a perfect side dish to just about anything you’ll be serving this holiday – it’s full of flavor and texture and it’s light, but filling. Plus, it can be made completely ahead of time!
*This recipe was originally posted in December 2014. I reshot the photos, but kept the text of this post and the recipe the same!
I’m very excited about today’s recipe! I love salads, but let’s face it – they can be boring. I often get in a “salad rut” where I just get tired of lettuce. Well this lovely Christmas salad is far from boring! And, technically there is no lettuce involved! A mixture of shredded Brussels sprouts and kale provide the base for this salad – much more flavor than plain old lettuce.
I’m a huge fan of raw vegetables in general, but I never knew how delicious Brussels sprouts were in their raw form. They have a mild cabbage flavor that I just love. And combined with kale it makes the perfect salad base!
To make this salad festive, I added pomegranate arils – perfect red and green combination! If you’ve never worked with a pomegranate before, don’t worry it’s actually really easy.
Pomegranate arils are basically just the seeds of the fruit. These seeds are held in place by membranes, which are bitter, and dry, so removing the seeds from the membrane is the best way to enjoy a pomegranate. Now, if you just bust open a pomegranate and try to pop those seeds out you’re going to have a mess. And by mess, I mean your cutting board will look like a murder scene.
To make the whole process easy and enjoyable (I found it enjoyable), you’ll want to grab a big bowl and fill it with water. Cut the pomegranate in half and then place it in the bowl of water. Holding the fruit under the water, cut side down, start pushing down to break it into pieces. Grab the pieces and rub them between your fingers to release the seeds – they will fall to the bottom of the bowl. The pith will float and can be easily skimmed off the top. Then, just drain the water off and you’ll have your pomegranate arils ready for use!
You can also buy them already out of the pomegranate in some grocery stores, but I couldn’t find them, and the buying the whole fruit is more cost effective.
Did I really just spend that much time talking about pomegranates?
Besides the Brussels sprouts, kale and pomegranate arils I also add bacon, almonds and cheese – yum! Bacon goes wonderful with hearty greens like these and adds a great flavor and, well, everyone loves bacon. The almonds provide crunch and the cheese is just a great finishing touch. I toss it all with a tangy and slightly sweet citrus vinaigrette, which pairs perfectly with all of the flavors.
Not only would this salad make a fantastic addition to your holiday table, but it would also be good anytime throughout the season. I think this may be my new go-to winter salad! The colors, texture, and flavor make every bite interesting – this one is definitely a winner.
- 3 Cups Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
- 3 Cups Kale, finely shredded
- 1 ½ Cup Pomegranate Arils*
- ½ Cup Chopped Almonds, toasted*
- 3 Slices Cooked Bacon, crumbled (omit for vegetarian)
- ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- 1 Orange, zested and juiced
- 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- 1 Clove Garlic, smashed
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a large bowl combine the Brussels sprouts, kale, pomegranate arils, almonds, bacon, and cheese; toss well.
- In a mini food processor or blender combine the orange and lemon zest/juice, mustard, honey, garlic clove, salt, and pepper; pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
- Toss the salad with the dressing and top with more cheese if desired.
- *Pomegranate arils are the seeds of a pomegranate. You can find them in a container in some grocery stores. If you can’t find them, just buy 2 pomegranates and seed them yourself. It’s actually pretty easy! Just cut the pomegranate in half and then place it into a large bowl of water. Gently hold the pomegranate (cut side down) and push the top of the fruit to release the membranes. Use your fingers to push the seeds from the membranes. The seeds will fall to the bottom and the little pieces of membrane will float to the top – you can skim them off and then drain the water and you’ll have your seeds!
- *To toast the almonds: Heat a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the almonds. Toast, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes – keep a close eye on them, you don’t want them to burn! They will be lightly golden brown and fragrant when they are done.
- You can make this salad in advance - just keep the dressing and the salad separate until you're ready to serve.
Do the Brussels sprouts need to be cooked?
Hi Lynn. No, they are not cooked. 🙂
Carla Patterson says
Thanks a lot for sharing this salad with us – it really looks amazing. I definitely got to try it and as Christmas is almost here, I believe there won’t be a better time for this, right? Thanks!
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Dropping by to say thank you for sharing this recipe. It was one of the favorites in our Christmas spread. It is indeed a perfect side dish. Looking forward to more recipe posts from you. Happy New Year!
Thank you for letting me Sheila, I’m so glad it was a hit! 🙂 Happy New Year!
Petra Dirks says
This Christmas salad sounds awsome, & im making this to go with our Christmas lunch. I cant beleive it contains all my favourite veges, i just cant wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
Emily Hopper says
I always love salad. It’s also one of the favorites of the family. Thanks for sharing this post.
J Grimes says
Hi I just thought you would like to know that although I found your content to be really really great and I also appreciate that you have to monify, the size and amount of ads on your blog are really off putting. I really loved the look of your Christmas Salad but when I clicked on to find all the details there was an add that took up almost half the page from the bottom and then continuously ads were popping up on the side. Im only letting you know because your content is great but I can’t enjoy it. xx
What could I use instead of bacon to make this vegetarian?
You can just omit the bacon! Maybe add some extra nuts if you’d like.
Michelle Harrison says
I made this salad for Thanksgiving and OMG was it yummy. It received rave reviews and everyone asked for the recipe. Trader Joe’s has a Brussel Sprout/Kale mix that I used. So I cheated a bit. The dressing was light and refreshing. It perfectly complimented the salad. I am definitely making it again. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.
Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so happy you enjoyed it 😊
How do you shred the kale and Brussels sprouts?
You can use a knife to thinly slice the kale and the Brussels sprouts. A mandoline works well to shred the Brussels sprouts. I’ve even seen preshredded mixes in the grocery, too!
Yum! This was a hit !!!
Mussayab Ehtesham says
Looks perfect for summer. Can we use arugula & baby spinach for this recipe?
+1000 for the feta. My favorite also.
You’re such a creative person, Keri! I would have never thought of such an amazing recipe.
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Susan MacDowell says
I made this salad but substituted apples for the pomegranate as I did not have any. It was excellent. Will definitely make again with the pomegranate.
Carpets in dubai says
I’m all in for this salad and will definitely use the orange vinegar. I often find good unusual kinds of vinegar at Home Goods.☮️♥️
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Jimmy Watson says
I made this salad but substituted apples for the pomegranate as I did not have any. It was excellent. can you share some more recipies related to Sald.
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I’m obsessed with pomegranate and made this salad- it was delicious and looks amazing!!
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Perfect Christmas salad! We served it with a very cream-and-cheese rich dish so it’s the perfect complement! Thank you! Five stars!