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.