My mom tells a story every year of the first time she made Thanksgiving dinner for someone outside of her immediate family. She cooked all of the staples of her Louisiana upbringing–turkey, oyster stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, white rolls. When it came time to serve, everyone was delighted. That was until one of the guests innocently commented, “It looks delicious, but where is the green on this plate?”
Ever since then, my mom has always made sure that there is some green at Thanksgiving. This simple but delicious recipe is one of her favorites–simple, straightforward, and not too hard to throw together during the rush of Thanksgiving Day. And while serving a salad may be breaking with southern tradition, the pop of green sure does make our plates look a little brighter.
Go crazy with greens. My mom typically makes this with arugula, but any green will do. Garden-grown kale, spinach, butter lettuce, or romaine would all be delightful bases for this refreshing salad.
Buy shucked pomegranate arils. There have been years where we’ve attempted to pry out our arils from a whole pomegranate. Learn from my mistakes, reader, and buy the pre-shucked ones. Unless you know something that I do not, you will never be able to get arils as ripe and free of pulp as the ones at the store. And you will also never get back the hour it will take for you to learn that for yourself.
Shave your parmesan by hand. Buying pre-shaved parmesan is convenient, but there is something about the long, tender slices pulled right from the block that really makes this salad. Slide a vegetable peeler down the long side of a parmesan wedge for beautiful ribbons that are good enough to eat.
Plan ahead for leftovers. If you want to make sure there is some extra salad for leftovers, be sure to set some aside before adding the dressing. Most greens, but especially arugula, don’t hold up when they’ve been dressed.
Get creative. Make this salad your own by dressing it up or down. Those looking for a little more oomph may want to add in candied pecans, a little goat cheese or some extra herbs such as tarragon or dill. Those wanting to keep things very simple can skip the pomegranate and parmesan–there is something delightfully French about tender fresh greens with a light, lemony dressing.
Plus- it tastes even better when you can harvest some leafy greens from your own salad garden of deliciousness.
Festive Green SaladCourse: SaladsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This festive green salad recipe is a great addition to your Thanksgiving Feast or can be great served by itself.
12-16 oz. fresh greens
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade-cut
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 lemons, juiced and zested
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼-½ cup of olive oil
4 oz parmesan, shaved into long ribbons
- Wash and prep the greens. Place in a large salad bowl, then add chiffonade-cut basil, and mix with your hands to combine.
- Top with pomegranate arils and set aside while making the dressing.
- To make the dressing, add the juice and zest of lemons into a medium size bowl. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, then slowly pour in olive oil while whisking continuously until well blended and homogenous.
- When ready to serve, add shavings of parmesan to the top of the salad. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately after dressing.