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Begin Christmas dinner with a festive and flavorful salad!
This beautiful Christmas Salad is speckled with pear slices, pomegranate arils, pistachios, and dried cranberries for crunch in every bite. Dressed with a tangy cranberry maple vinaigrette, this easy red, white, and green salad belongs on every holiday table!
At our house, we tend to indulge in heavy foods during Christmas and the New Year, so it’s nice to balance it out with something a little healthier and refreshing. This salad recipe is super versatile with a lot of substitution options, so you can make it your own.
Besides being delicious, this salad doesn’t require a lot of extra time in the kitchen. Buy pre-washed greens at the grocery, dump into a pretty bowl, sprinkle on the toppings, whisk up the dressing, and serve. It’s simply lovely and luscious!
Looking for more Christmas salad recipes? A wedge salad is always a classic addition to a fancy dinner. Or, you may enjoy my Winter Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette or Mediterranean Chopped Arugula Salad. Both are delicious!
Key ingredients & substitutions for Christmas Salad
- Greens — Especially during the holidays, I’m a big fan of “washed and ready to eat” salad greens! For this salad I suggest mixed baby salad greens or a spring mix.
- Pears — Make sure the fruit is firm and without bruises.
- Cheese — Gorgonzola cheese pairs well with the other flavors in this dish, but you could also use a mild blue cheese or goat cheese.
- Crunchies — The recipe calls for shelled pistachios, dried cranberries, and sunflower seed kernels, but there are so many other options! Dried cherries, candied pecans, or walnuts sound delicious, too.
- Pomegranate arils — Sprinkle on pomegranate arils a pop of color and fresh flavor! Instructions for removing arils from a pomegranate are below, or for convenience, just arils are available in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle.
How to make Christmas salad?
STEP 1 | Make the vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk a neutral oil like canola or avocado oil with cranberry juice and maple syrup.
Since cranberry juice is tart, taste the vinaigrette and add more maple syrup if needed. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.
STEP 2 | Arrange the salad
Place the salad greens in a large bowl and arrange pear slices on top. Peeling the pears is a personal preference, but it’s not necessary.
Sprinkle the top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese, pistachios, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
STEP 3 | Garnish and serve
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss, or pour the vinaigrette into a pretty dispenser and serve from the table.
How to remove the arils from a pomegranate?
This time of year, pomegranates make a beautiful addition to fruit baskets and holiday displays. The arils are delicious on salads, yogurt, cereal, and make a tasty snack. If you want to use a fresh pomegranate for this salad, here’s an easy way to remove the seeds.
- Use the tip of a large knife to slice through the skin of the pomegranate from the top to the bottom, being careful not to cut all the way through the pith.
- Make another cut to form a wedge. From the top, carefully pull the wedge away from the fruit.
- Use your fingers to gently loosen the arils and discard the pith.
Behind the recipe: Christmas Salad
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia, for a working retreat with a few blogging friends. We collaborated on a couple of new recipes, worked on photo styling and editing, and laughed a lot!
It was so fun working together to develop this Christmas Salad and vinaigrette recipe!
These ladies are so talented — I know you’d enjoy following their blogs for more delicious food!
- 1 (16 oz.) pkg. mixed baby salad greens (or spring mix)
- 2 pears peeled and sliced thin
- 4 oz. gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios roasted and salted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels
- ¼ cup neutral oil canola, avocado or a light olive oil
- 3 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice
- 1 – 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup to taste
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Place salad greens in a large bowl and arrange pear slices on top.
- Sprinkle the top with the gorgonzola cheese, pistachios, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cranberry juice, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and salt. Taste — if not sweet enough, add another tablespoon of maple syrup and whisk again.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss. Garnish with more pomegranate arils, if desired.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.