Easy Holiday Salad

Tis’ the season for many a holiday gathering. I love my friends and family and feel blessed to have them in my life but by January I’m pretty burnt out on parties (I’m an outgoing introvert I think).

And every party comes with the dreaded question – what should I bring? Will anyone notice if I offer to be drinks and chips for the 5th year in a row? We all want to help the hostess but we’re also inundated with our own holiday to-do list.

Offer to bring this scrumptious salad! It’s so easy, looks fancy and tastes totally delicious. And the best part- no chopping, dicing, julienning- most of the ingredients you can pick up at the store and just dump together into the bowl – ta-da!

 

It’s just 5 ingriedents-

1- Mixed spring greens

2-Pomegranate seeds – Look for these in the produce refrigerated section if you want to avoid the hassle of deconstructing the pomegranate on your own.

3-Cheese – I would recommend goat or blue cheese crumbles. You can buy both of these cheeses in their pre-crumbled form in the grocery store deli section

4- Candied nuts – receipe below!

5- Balsamic Vinegrette – Want to make your own? Go for it! Want them to think you made it? Put the ready made stuff in a small mason to take to the party. What’s that? No…I’ve never done this! Everything I bring to parties is always 100% homemade..yes..yes…always. *ahem*

 

Salad seen here without cheese - I have some stinky cheese haters in my family.

Salad seen here without cheese – I have some stinky cheese haters in my family.

The candied nuts really make this salad. Many grocery stores carry a candied but either in the produce section in the weird underneath the produce displays or near the trail mixes. But let me just say that it is very easy to make them! And once you master candying nuts you can use them for SO many different recipes. They’re delicious on salads, on ice cream, with mashed sweet potatoes, with roasted vegetables and of course on their own!

Now go forth and attended that 56th holiday party! You’ll totally be a hit!

 

Candied Nuts

1 cup pecans or walnuts
½ sugar
¼ water (enough to just moisten sugar)

Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper to create a landing zone for your finished nuts.

Place sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan (anyone else start singing “Fat Bottomed Girls” when they read that? No?! Me either..). Pour water over sugar and mix with your fingertips. Sugar should be just moistened and look like wet sand. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture is boiling and sugar is dissolved. Stir in the nuts using a wooden spoon or heat safe spatula.

Stir constantly until the nuts are evenly coated. Keeping stirring. As they cook the sugar will crystalize on the nuts and get dry. This is normal. Keep cooking and stirring constantly (at no point once you’ve added the nuts should you stop stirring).

Slowly the sugar will begin to melt and caramelize on the nuts and the nuts will begin to toast. Keep cooking until all the sugar has caramelized and the nuts are golden brown.
Pour out onto parchment paper lined pans and separate with spoon or spatula.

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