Thursday, December 8, 2011

Raspberry Romaine Salad -- just in time for Christmas!

Ho ho ho!  Nope, we're not making cupcakes, but aren't these cute?  I don't even like cake, but I think the way pastry chefs make cupcakes these days is just adorable.  Salad may not draw people in quite as well, but THIS salad is one of the best green salads there is for a sweet-tooth like me AND it's festive for Christmas time. 

I originally got this recipe from a Pampered Chef party.  (In fact, I believe I was the host!)  It was called Chicken & Berry Salad and included 2 cups of chopped chicken (in which the Pampered Chef lady used for demonstrating the Chopper which I've loved over the years!  I've never used it for chicken, but I always use it for nuts and sometimes for veggies if they need to be small).  I searched for the recipe online and they have it posted on The Pampered Chef website as a Chicken & Strawberry Salad (which they must have changed over the years because I know the recipe I had from them said, "Chicken & Berry Salad" and used raspberries, with a sub suggestion of Craisins, which is good, but full of refined sugar.   There's probably a naturally sweetened dried cranberry that would work, though, if you want to give that a try).  I rarely eat meat, so I omit the chicken from my recipe, but you are most certainly welcome to add it in.  It's a satisfying meal either way.

I have a hard time loving salads, I think, mostly because I love sweet more than savory when it comes to fresh foods.  So this salad caught my attention with it's Citrus Salad Dressing.  I've used it for other salads too.  And just so you know, the dressing doesn't work if you try to sub fresh orange juice.  I tried it and it just didn't have enough flavor (and made the whole salad too watery and lacking -- sad mistake last Christmas eve).  I've thought of adding avocado (or putting it in place of the sugar-snap peas) but haven't tried that yet.  Perhaps I should only experiment when I'm not cooking for others :).

I usually double this recipe for crowds.  This recipe should fill a medium-sized salad bowl (just to know how to gauge the lettuce needs) and if you double the recipe, it will fill a large salad bowl.  Don't be afraid to add extra berries.  'Tis the season to add some red flare!

Raspberry Romaine Salad w/a Citrus Twist

Salad --

1 c. raspberries
1 head romaine lettuce torn into pieces (or 2 romaine hearts)
1 c. sugar snap peas (cut diagonally in half)
1/4 c. red onion
1/4 c. pecan pieces, toasted (lightly in the oven -- you can leave them raw)
(Options -- Sub strawberries or pomegranate seeds for raspberries or do a mix)

Citrus Vinaigrette --
1/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T. oil (olive or canola)
1 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. dijon mustard

Combine salad ingredients and toss gently.  Shake or stir vinaigrette ingredients.  Just before serving, toss salad with dressing.