For Thanksgiving this year I plan on starting the dinner off with a fresh, crisp salad. As there will be so much good food to look forward to, I like the starter salad to be light and flavorful with ingredients to compliment the meal that is coming. The cranberry vinaigrette’s lightly sweet tangy taste is balanced by the distinct gorgonzola cheese, crisp apples, greens and nuts.
Since I will be having a small gathering, I will keep my salad plates in the refrigerator until serving time and plate up a small serving for each guest. If I were to have more than 8 guests, I would present the salad on a platter or bowl to be passed. I’ve adapted Ina Garten’s tip on making the salad a few hours ahead of time putting the dressing on the bottom of the salad bowl and keeping it chilled. When it’s time to serve, toss the salad incorporating the dressing from the bottom and then sprinkle on the toppings.
I’ve made this salad so many times over the years; I’m almost embarrassed to say it’s adapted from an old Bon Appetite recipe from 1995! My Gina was 5 and Adam was 3. It’s funny I remember past memories best when I associate the years on the ages of my children. And I recall holidays from the menus I kept of those that I hosted. That Thanksgiving must have been either at my sister or brother’s house as I don’t have a menu saved from that year!
Apple Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup fresh cranberries or frozen thawed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 full teaspoon dried herbs de provence
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
10 cups mixed baby greens
2 Red Delicious apples, cored, thinly sliced and tossed with a tablespoon of lemon juice
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup gorgonzola or goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
To make the vinaigrette:
Puree the cranberries in a food processor until smooth. Add in vinegar, onion, honey, herb and mustard and process until well blended. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil. Transfer to a medium bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made on day ahead, cover, chill and bring to room temperature whisking before using.
To make the salad:
Combine the greens and apples in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Sprinkle on the dried cranberries, walnut, and cheese. Serve remaining dressing separately. Serves 6 to 8.
This salad is part of my Thanksgiving Countdown. If you’d like to share your favorite salad for Thanksgiving, please use Linky Tools here
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(I’ve just found out that WordPress doesn’t allow the links to show on my blog, but can be viewed by clicking on the above ‘Click Here” Linky Tools for a listing of those submitted. Also, below I will add the listing of submitted recipes. Just click on the title to view the recipe. I apologize for the glitches but don’t let that stop you from seeing some great recipes!)
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.