Winter Greens with Apples, Spicy Walnuts and Cranberry Vinaigrette

This is a salad I insisted on getting the recipe for at a potluck 30 years ago and it remains, to this day, my go-to salad for festive holidays. The tang of the cranberry dressing, the sweet tartness of the Honey Crisp apples, the crunch of caramelized nuts (both walnuts and pecans work well here) and the creamy bite of a good goat cheese…seriously, you have to try this!

Winter Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4-6
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1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
4 cups mixed winter greens such as kale, escarole, curly endive, romaine
2 large red apples, (something sweet and tart like Honey Crisps), cored and diced
1/2 small red Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (57 g) good goat cheese (Chevre or a feta works well here)

Arrange the butter lettuce on individual salad plates.  In a large bowl, combine the winter greens, apple and spiced walnuts.  Toss with enough of the cranberry vinaigrette to coat lightly.  Divide among the lettuce beds.  Top the salads with the sliced red onion and goat cheese pass the extra vinaigrette.

Spiced Walnuts
1-1/2 tsp. butter, melted
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T (43 g) honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (59 g) coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

In a small skillet, combine all the ingredients and toss well to coat.  Cook over medium heat until the nuts are lightly browned.  Remove from the heat and let cool, and then break apart.

(Another amazing nut mix that goes well with this salad are Judith’s Spice Nuts)

Cranberry Vinaigrette
2/3 cup (85 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/2 cup (118 g) cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (63 g) fresh orange juice
3/4 cup (149 g) vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Place the cranberries, sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Puree the cranberry mixture in a blender, then drizzle in the oil to emulsify.

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