We We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday party season, which usually means a potluck or two. Are you the person who always gets asked to ‘bring a salad’? …Me too. This is because I have a tendency to go hog wild over them and don’t know when to quit (don’t get me started on my venture into the hard-boiled eggs dyed with beet juice as a garnish-nobody wanted to go anywhere near that). I’m digressing…here we have what I hope you will think is a solution to the ‘bring a salad’ blues. You can put it all together at home and toss in the dressing once you arrive at your destination. This salad is as good to eat as it is pretty to look at. Crisp, red cabbage and slivered chard for the base. Next, we’ll add in some dried cranberries for a sweet-tart kick, then some pomegranate seeds for a tart and crunchy visual show stopper, then fresh blueberries for a sweet surprise. The dressing is not your typical slaw-type of dressing…we add a big dollop of blackberry jelly for color and sweet, and then a good squeeze of lemon juice to balance everything out. Sound good? Oh! Then I threw on a big old handful of roasted pumpkin seeds on top. Nothing like a salty and crunchy finish. If you bring this to your next party, be prepared to be the designated salad assignee for a long time to come.
Seriously though – this salad is a cinch to make. The ingredient list is pretty short, and all that’s required is some chopping. You will also need to remove the seeds from the pomegranate, which is quite easy. Here’s the trick: Cut the thing in half, get a heavy wooden spoon and a bowl. Place your hand over the cut side of the pomegranate, get situated over the top of the bowl, then systematically whack the top of the fruit with the spoon. It usually takes about 4 good whacks for the seeds to come out. Then..turn the fruit a quarter turn and go at it again. On occasion, you’ll need to go twice around the whole thing before all the seeds are gone, but it’s actually kind of fun. It’s also kind of fun to place some pretty chard leaves around a platter and pile the salad on top.
Here’s another trick: Save some cranberries, blueberries, and pomegranates and sprinkle them on the top. The colors will pop even more that way.
The dressing isn’t your typical slaw type either. I added a big dollop of blackberry jelly for color and and little sweetness, and then plenty of lemon juice and some salt to balance everything out. The first time I made this, my critics were underwhelmed because I didn’t add enough lemon and the dressing was too sweet. The whole flavor-balance thing will be your call, so just keep tasting until it seems just right to you.
Let’s not forget the crunch factor: It’s a good idea to quick roast some pumpkin seeds (or whatever nuts you have hanging around for that matter) and sprinkle them on the top.
Whether you are summoned for salad duty at a holiday potluck, or just want a nice treat to have at home, this one should do the trick. Hope you enjoy, and thanks so much for reading today. Happy holidays!! xoxoxo
- FOR THE SALAD
- ½ of a head of red cabbage, sliced and slivered
- 1-2 cups of chard leaves, slivered
- 1 cup fresh blueberries or more to taste (plus extra for garnish)
- ½ of a fresh pomegranate, seeded, or more to taste (plus extra for garnish)
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries, or more to taste (plus extra for garnish)
- 2-3 green onions, cut on the bias
- FOR THE DRESSING
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup low-fat or regular sour cream
- 1 tablespoon of any dark jelly you prefer
- Juice of ½ of a lemon or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- FOR THE PUMPKIN SEEDS
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
- Pinch of salt
- TO ASSEMBLE
- Right before serving, toss the dressing into the salad greens. Top with more blueberries, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries. Then sprinkle the top of the whole thing liberally with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- FOR THE SALAD
- Toss the slivered cabbage, slivered chard, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, and green onions together in a large bowl. FOR THE DRESSING
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, jelly, lemon juice and salt. It will be beautiful! The dressing takes on a purple tone that I personally love. Now…taste it. What we are looking for here is a balance of flavors and getting this right can make or break your salad. Is it too sweet? Add more lemon. Is it ‘flat’ tasting? Try adding a little more salt. Just keep working at it until you feel like it’s just right. I used to skimp on the lemon, and ended up with something that was too sweet, and just didn’t taste quite right, so keep at it!!
- FOR THE PUMPKIN SEEDS
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a cookie sheet that has been covered with foil. Drizzle on the oil and sprinkle with salt. Smoosh them all together to make sure every seed has some oil and salt.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Some seeds will still be green, and some will start to turn brown.
- Remove from oven and let them rest for a few minutes. They will start to make a popping noise – this is normal so do not fear.
- When they are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to squeeze gently over the top to remove any excess oil.
- That’s all there is to it!!