Some lovely elderly ladies invited me to their Christmas Luncheon; this was the menu:
Tuna salad on lettuce leaf with rye cocktail bread
Celery sticks & onion soup mix dip
Red jello with chopped apples and celery
Green jello a la sour cream and canned pineapple
Red jello with cinnamon red candies and applesauce
Green jello a la canned fruit cocktail
And a fabulous assortment of homemade Christmas cookies: From Santa’s Thumbprints and Church Windows to White Chocolate Cranberry Jumbles and fudge in dainty little paper candy cups.
I wish I had worn a vintage 1960’s-style dress and white cotton gloves…as I would have fit right in with the retro menu.
Now don’t get me wrong, once a year, four flavors of red and green jello can be a perfect accompaniment to a vintage-style luncheon. (My three little girls who accompanied me to the Ladies Lunch certainly thought so; and that was only partially because they were in Jello Heaven – also, the dear ladies treated them like princesses!)
But I left the luncheon craving a bit more crunch – than a few shards of celery.
There are lots of reasons not to forget the VEGETABLE salads – as opposed to the Jello salad variety – on holiday party tables:
- First and foremost, for a well balanced menu, vinegary/citrusy dressings help cut through the richness of other dishes and helps cleanse your palate so that the last bite tastes (almost) as good as the first.
- Folks looking to not gain 5 pounds during the holidays will thank you for a big beautiful, minimally dressed salad – or lots of veggies with dressing on the side.
- Cold and flu season has begun; stock up on disease-fighting antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.
- Brighten and lighten your holiday table with colorful produce – as some side dishes and meaty proteins tend to be drab in color.
Spinach Salad with Roasted Apples
Brightly colored salad to brighten up any table; healthy dressing is just 4 ingredients.
- Yield: 6-8 side salads 1x
- 2 beets, washed, scrubbed and with about 1/2-inch of stems remaining
- 2–3 Golden Delicious apples
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 bag (9 oz) fresh baby spinach
- 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
- 3 ounces feta or goat cheese crumbled
- Wrap beets tightly in aluminum foil. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place in 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.
- While beets are roasting, slice apples sideways through the core into 1/4-inch thick slices; you want to preserve the pretty apple core ‘stars’ in the center. Remove seeds if desired. Remove baking sheet from oven and place apple slices on parchment paper and roast along with beets for 20 minutes or until beets are tender and apples are golden.
- Cool beets and slip off peels. Slice into 1/4-inch cubes.
- Whisk together orange juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Place spinach, celery, cubed beets in large bowl; pour as much dressing as desired over salad. Place salad on individual salad plates or pour into serving bowl and top with cheese and apple slices.
I created this salad from a few things I had in my fridge – with a Christmas theme in mind; the beets are ‘red,’ the spinach green and the apple centers are stars.
Here are a few more of my favorite salads that would shine on any holiday table:
Mexican Three Bean Salad – Meme @ Living Well Kitchen
Kale & Purple Cabbage Salad – Sandra @ Meadows Cooks
Cauliflower Farro Salad – Meal Makeover Moms
Romaine, Roasted Pepper and Grape Salad – Diane @ Cape Fear Nutrition