Salad: The least loved side of holiday dinners. But it doesn’t have to be.
The problem with most of the salads served at holiday meals is they tend to lack inspiration and usually are made from lackluster ingredients. Fair enough. Our focus usually is on the roast and heartier — and way more interesting — sides, like scalloped potatoes and gravies and baked this-and-thats.
But a holiday dinner salad not only can be delicious, it also can be a bright and light counterpoint to the many heavier options on the table. The trick is to draw on seasonally appropriate ingredients that also are robust enough to stand up to the rest of the meal. In this case, we went with roasted beats and lightly charred citrus segments. Combined with nicely dressed greens, it’s a delicious redemption of the salad.
Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (30 minutes active)
4 medium beets (preferably multiple colors)
2 cups grapefruit and orange segments
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 ounces baby kale or arugula
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/4 cup toasted flake coconut (preferably unsweetened)
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Wrap each beet in foil and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
While the beets cool, increase the oven to broil. Arrange the citrus segments in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, then sprinkle with the brown sugar. Broil for 3 minutes, turning halfway through for even browning.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the greens in the dressing, then arrange on a serving platter.
Carefully peel the roasted beets, then slice into small wedges. Arrange the roasted beets and the broiled citrus wedges over the greens. Sprinkle with the pecans and toasted coconut.
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 140 calories from fat (64 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 130 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 3 g protein.