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Easy Holiday Starters

December 9, 2019

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PHOTO BY KERRYGOLD

 

Holiday Countdown, Part III | By Margaret M. Johnson

        There’s nothing easier, or more refreshing, for a holiday meal than a simple starter of mixed greens. With a few additions of fruits, nuts, and cheese, these salads will make your table shine! From my table to yours, Happy Christmas!

 

HOLIDAY GREEN SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS AND CASHEL BLUE

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SERVES 6

This colorful salad, compliments of Kerrygold, definitely deserves the name “holiday” with the colorful addition of beets and pomegranate seeds.

3 small golden beets
3 small red beets
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt

Ground black pepper
1 (5 ounce) bag mixed greens
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup candied pecans
1/2 cup crumbled Cashel Blue cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Cut green tops and root ends off beets. Toss golden beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and firmly wrap in foil packet; repeat process with red beets. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until beets are easily pierced with the tip of a knife. (Roasting time can vary depending on the size of your beets. Larger might take 90 minutes to roast.) Set aside until cool enough to handle. Wearing gloves to prevent staining your hands, gently rub beets to remove skins; cut into quarters.
3. Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small lidded jar; shake to blend.
4. Place mixed greens in a large bowl and toss with half the dressing. Add beets, pomegranate seeds, pecans, and blue cheese. Serve immediately and pass remaining dressing.

 

OLHA AFANASIEVA | DREAMSTIME

 

 

 

 

FIGS, BLUE CHEESE, AND WALNUT SALAD

SERVES 4 TO 6

This recipe also suggests Cashel Blue cheese and walnuts, but you can easily substitute crumbled goat cheese and almonds if you prefer; alternately, use blackberries instead of blueberries.

For the salad

1 (5 ounce) bag mixed greens

12 ripe figs, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

3/4 cup crumbled Cashel Blue cheese

1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries

For the vinaigrette

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

Salt and ground black pepper

  1. Make salad. Toss greens, figs, onion (if using), walnuts, and blue cheese in a large bowl or on a platter; sprinkle blueberries or blackberries on top.
  2. Make vinaigrette. In a small bowl or lidded jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper; whisk or shake to blend. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and serve immediately.

ROBYN MACKENZIE | DREAMSTIME

 

GREEN APPLE AND WALNUT SALAD

SERVES 8

This salad is delicious homage to the season. The simple base of mixed greens —  arugula, spinach, chicory — gets a delicious kick from the topping of tart green apples, plain or toasted walnuts, chopped celery, dried cranberries or chopped dates. Top it with tasty Walnut Vinaigrette.

Walnut Vinaigrette

1/4 cup walnut oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup rapeseed or olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Salt and ground black pepper

Salad

1 (10 ounce) bag mixed greens

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally

2 Granny smith apples, cored and sliced

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Ground black pepper

  1. Make vinaigrette. Combine all the ingredients in a lidded jar; shake to blend.
  2. Make salad. in a large bowl, toss the greens and celery with half the dressing. Divide among eight salad plates, top with the apples and walnuts, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Top with a few grinds of pepper and serve immediately.

    Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” Her newest cookbook, Teatime in Ireland, will be published later this year! For further details on her work or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com.

 

 

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