I bought or received a Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas Cookbook years ago when I moved out and had my own place. Cooking has been something that I have always enjoyed and was looking forward to expanding my culinary skills with new dishes. I made this salad titled “Christmas Spinach Salad” way back when and it has been requested ever since.
The best thing about cooking, to me, is finding that one “base recipe” and then making it your own. This salad has evolved into so many other salads based on occasion, tastes and what is in season. The only part that has remained constant is the delicious dressing.
No step by step photos this time. I am waiting to make it on the 25th. But I am sure you will manage just fine.
10-12 cups romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups melon, diced or in balls
2/3 cups chopped pecans, toasted**
2/3 cups Asiago Cheese, julienned or diced
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. You can even prepare all the parts of the salad ahead of time and just assemble when ready to eat. Just so the fruit and cheese don’t become all soggy with one another.
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup honey
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp grated gingerroot or 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
Mix all the ingredients, store in a glass jar/cruet and refrigerate until ready to eat. It doesn’t look like much, but trust me it will go a long way! You can also make extra and offer it to those who like their salads a little more wet.
Okay now here is where you can pick and choose:
Lettuce: romaine, spinach, mixed greens, red leaf, radicchio, a combo – whatever you prefer just please skip the iceberg!
Fruit: You do not have to use two fruits. This year I am only using strawberries. I have used pears, apples, dried cranberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes…whatever you think will pair nicely or go it alone.
Nuts: Pecans are my constant ingredient but you can also substitute walnuts or almonds; just make sure to toast them**
Cheese: The original salad called for Gouda or Edam, which are lovely with this dressing but I have been using Asiago and it is divine. Sharp White Cheddar, Chunks of Parmesan are also great options. Again whatever pairs nicely with fruit. Skip the Velveeta.
**Here are several methods for toasting nuts, just watch so you do not burn them and then they taste foul.
Oven: Spread nuts on an ungreased pan and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes, stir frequently until light brown
Skillet (my fave): Sprinkle nuts in ungreased skillet and cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to brown. Then keep stirring until light brown. Just keep an eye out.
Microwave: Um…never tried.