Winter Greens Salad with Golden Beets, Pomegranate, Pecans, and Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette

This special winter greens salad has been my go-to salad for holiday gatherings this year. It’s the perfect thing to make with winter greens that are plentiful this time of year. Bring this salad to a potluck, or serve it at your home with a nice soup and main dish on a cold winter’s evening. Below are a couple of meals I have served the salad with this holiday season.

Roasted salmon, asparagus, basmati rice, and winter greens salad (holiday meals with friends):

salmon-dinner

Beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, and winter greens salad (Christmas Eve supper):

plate

Give yourself time to prepare this salad. It is a labor of love! You’ll be preparing the greens, various toppings and garnishes, and a warm dressing that gets tossed with the greens. Better to enlist some help to make it fun and less time consuming!

When you get home from the market, you can refresh your greens by trimming about 1-2 inches off the ends and putting them into cold water for about an hour before you start the recipe. This will make them perk up and the stems will be extra crisp and crunchy.

Getting ready to put the beets in the oven…

winter-salad-1

The greens become slightly wilted, but should still be bright and fresh. Beets, greens stems, pecans, and pomegranates are layered on top of the dressed greens. So beautiful!

winter-salad-3

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Winter Greens Salad with Golden Beets, Pomegranate, Pecans, and Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Roasted beets
  • 1 golden beet
  • 1 red beet
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Toasted pecans
  • ½ cup raw whole pecans
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • a few pinches sea salt
Salad greens
  • 1 bunch red or rainbow swiss chard
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
Warm dressing
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice (about ½ orange)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unpasteurized tamari or shoyu
Garnishes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (or dried cranberries)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper (or grease pan with thin coating of oil).
  2. Peel beets and slice into ⅛-inch rounds. Place into medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt.Place beet rounds onto lined sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Beets can be turned over once to cook more evenly. Remove beets from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Turn oven down to 350°F. Toast pecans on small sheet pan for about 8 minutes. Toss halfway through to prevent burning. Place toasted pecans in a small bowl and drizzle with maple syrup and sea salt.
  4. Destem swiss chard, reserving stems. Tear leaves into bite sized pieces and place into bowl.
  5. Destem kale and slice leaves into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Gently massage kale leaves with a few pinches of salt for about one minute. Slice chard stems into ½-inch lengths and kale stems into ¼-inch lengths and set a aside.
  6. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and immediately add chard and kale stems with a pinch of salt. Sauté briefly, just until brightly colored. Remove to a small bowl.
  7. Add ¼ cup olive oil to pan and heat on medium until shimmery (this will probably only take a few seconds). Add red onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté until onion is soft and slightly browning. Turn heat to low and add balsamic vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, and tamari or shoyu.
  8. Turn heat off and add kale and chard greens to the pan, tossing constantly to coat with the warm dressing. When all leaves are evenly coated, remove greens to a platter. Top with roasted beets, chard and kale stems, toasted pecans, orange zest, and pomegranate seeds.

This version was made with toasted pepitas and rainbow chard (no beets).

winter-salad

 

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

salad with fresh figs, avocado, marcona almonds

Mmmm… fresh figs! Late summer and early fall is the height of fig season. Right now in Austin, the grocery stores have been fully stocked with varieties of figs from California that range in color from dark purple to bright green on the outside, to various shades of pink on the inside. They are best when heavy, plump, unblemished, and slightly soft on the outside. Figs that are squishy are probably overripe. Check out this article to learn more about how to choose figs.

Varieties of ripe figs
Varieties of ripe figs. Photo Credit: Photo © Patrizia Savarese/Getty Images

In this recipe, I have chosen to marinate the fennel in citrus, olive oil, and salt before adding it to the salad. This slightly softens the fennel and makes it more flavorful. Fennel bulbs are easy to slice if you first trim the stems and fronds from the bulb, cut into quarters, and then thinly slice each quarter. If the stems are juicy and flavorful, they can also be thinly sliced and added to the marinade.

FennelTrim fennel root and stems. Cut in half.

fennel- quarteredCut each half in half.

Fennel-4Slice off the hard core from each fennel quarter. Slice thinly.

I recommend using a good quality, aged balsamic vinegar that is less acidic and slightly sweet. I used the Central Market brand Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Italy for this recipe. It costs about $16 and can be bought online or in the Austin Central Market stores.

balsamic vinegar

I used a tangerine-infused olive oil from Vom Faas specialty store. You can sub a good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can’t find this ingredient.

Be creative and try substituting ingredients that are seasonal in your area. For example, as winter approaches, pomegranates will be in season and can be used instead of figs. Mango can be used in place of oranges, celery for fennel, and toasted pecans for almonds.

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small or ½ large fresh fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups mixed field greens with baby arugula
  • up to 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • up to 2 tablespoons citrus-infused olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 fresh figs, sliced in quarters
  • 1 small avocado, cut into chunks
  • slices of 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • ¼ cup Marcona almonds (toasted and salted)
  • black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together fennel, orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Allow fennel to marinate for at least 20 minutes. This step can also be done up to one day ahead, storing the fennel mixture covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
  2. Rinse and spin dry mixed greens. Spread evenly onto large platter or into large salad bowl.
  3. Drizzle greens with balsamic vinegar and citrus-infused olive oil. Top greens with marinated fennel, figs, avocado, orange or clementine slices, and Marcona almonds.
  4. Top with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Variation
  1. Use mango chunks in place of orange slices.

Salad at Sami & Lorraines (3)

Bon appetit!

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate

Yesterday, I was part of a “Friendsgiving” photo shoot for Austin Food Magazine with amazingly talented Austin caterer Suzanne Court. “Friendsgiving” is the term for getting together with all of your friends for a potluck Thanksgiving meal. In this case, many local chefs, restauranteurs, food bloggers, and wine folks gathered at our friends’ beautiful house in Rollingwood. It was one of most delicious meals I’ve ever had, and I met so many friendly people in the local food scene. The article will come out in Austin Food Magazine on Monday, November 23rd.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine: Holiday
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Toasted Pecans
  • ⅓ cup pecans, broken into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon tamari
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar reduction
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on sheet pan and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes. When fully toasted, remove from the oven into a mixing bowl. Drizzle with tamari and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half (or in quarters if very large). Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Spread brussels sprouts out onto large sheet pan (or two smaller sheet pans) and roast in the oven for 12 minutes.
  5. While roasting the brussels sprouts, combine maple syrup and garlic. After 12 minutes, give the brussels sprouts a stir and add maple syrup and garlic mixture. Continue to roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
  6. Remove brussels sprouts to a platter. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Note:
  1. For this large platter mounded with brussels sprouts, I used 5 pounds of brussels sprouts.

This recipe is fairly simple, but does require knowing how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate. I use the method presented in this video (cut the pomegranate in half and tap one half at a time with a wooden spoon or hammer until all seeds pop out).

roasted brussels sprouts

Here are some of the dishes from our Friendsgiving feast:

IMG_5552

This salad from Suzanne Court Catering was so wild and fresh!

thanksgiving tableIMG_5547

Beautiful pork dish with roasted squash, toasted pecans, and arugula by Chef David Garrido of Dine Raddison Austin.

IMG_5553

I highly recommend putting a dinner like this together with your friends. Just set up a shared google spreadsheet so everyone can sign up for a dish, or just take your chances that you will have a varied meal! I made maple-roasted brussels sprouts for the event. Try them this holiday season, as they are simple to make and have the perfect colors for a festive side dish!

Roasted Brussels Sproutsphoto of maple roasted brussels sprouts

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Join the Cook Love Heal Community, and I’ll send you my Natural Health Starter Kit for free and you’ll find out about the online course as soon as it is available. I’ll also keep you updated with amazing recipes, yoga ideas and tips for how to live a balanced life. Look forward to meeting you!

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