Favorite Holiday Green Salad Recipe

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My favorite holiday green salad features a festive mix of seasonal ingredients and a delicious shallot vinaigrette.

Favorite Holiday Green Salad

Can we just agree to bejewel all our salads with pomegranates this time of year? ♡

I always think these lovely little red gems add such a festive touch to green salads for the holidays, and this pomegranate salad in particular is one of my favorites. It’s tossed with your choice of greens, sliced apples, toasted walnuts, creamy avocado, crisp fennel, salty shaved Parmesan, and my favorite shallot vinaigrette. I make some version of this salad every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas (and plenty of winter evenings in between), and it’s always just as delicious as it is gorgeous.

That said, this pomegranate salad is also incredibly flexible. So if you feel like swapping in a different kind of nuts, greens, cheese, or even vinaigrette, please feel free. I’ve also written this recipe to be naturally vegetarian and gluten-free, but you’re welcome to add in an extra protein (such as chicken or bacon) if you’d like. I just insist that you generously sprinkle lots of beautiful pomegranate arils over the top like confetti, and then share and enjoy.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Holiday Green Salad Ingredients (pomegranate, apple, arugula, avocado, walnuts, Parmesan, fennel, lettuce, shallot vinaigrette)

Pomegranate Salad Ingredients

Here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need for this pomegranate green salad recipe:

  • Greens: I used a 50/50 mixture of baby arugula and little gems for this salad, but you can instead use Romaine, red leaf lettuce, a spring green mix, or whatever greens you prefer.
  • Apple and pomegranate: Feel free to use whatever variety of apple that you love best in salads (I went with a Pink Lady), plus a generous sprinkling of pomegranate arils! If you are new to working with pomegranates, here is a quick tutorial for how to open and de-seed a pomegranate.
  • Avocado: Fresh avocado adds a lovely creaminess to the salad, which you’re welcome to either dice or thinly slice.
  • Fennel: I love also adding some crisp fresh fennel, sliced paper-thin, whose mild anise-like flavor pairs beautifully with the fruit.
  • Nuts: I used roughly-chopped walnut halves here, which I recommend lightly toasting before adding to the salad to bring out the best of their flavor. But the choice of nuts in this salad is completely flexible, so use whatever you prefer. (Pecans, sliced almonds, pistachios, or pepitas are all great options!)
  • Parmesan cheese: I love the salty, nutty, umami flavor of fresh-shaved Parmesan in this salad, which I just shave with a Y-peeler. But you could go many different directions with the choice of cheese for this recipe. Pecorino or Manchego would be somewhat similar alternatives, or you could take a 180 and go for a crumbled gorgonzola, feta or goat cheese.
  • Shallot vinaigrette: We love using my favorite lemony shallot vinaigrette here, which adds the perfect amount of sharp, citrusy flavor to balance out all of the sweet and creamy ingredients in the salad.

Adding shallot vinaigrette to pomegranate salad

Recipe Variations

Here are a few other ideas for ways that you can customize this green salad recipe:

  • Add a protein: Chicken, steak, bacon (or prosciutto) would all be great additions to this salad if you would like to add a protein.
  • Add croutons: homemade croutonsToasted (I’d recommend using a good sourdough) would also add a delicious bit of extra crunch to this salad.
  • Use a different vinaigrette: A classic balsamic vinaigrette would also go well with this salad. Or if you’d like something extra-simple, my everyday salad dressing would also be lovely.
  • Use candied nuts: If you’d like to add some extra sweetness and crunch, candied walnuts (or candied pecans) would be fun here too.

Thanksgiving Green Salad on platter (with pomegranate, apple, avocado, Parmesan, fennel and walnuts)

More Holiday Salad Recipes

Looking for more lovely green salads to serve around the holidays? Here are a few of my favorites:

Christmas Salad on plate (with apple, pomegranate, Parmesan and walnuts)


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My favorite holiday green salad features a festive mix of seasonal ingredients and a delicious shallot vinaigrette.

  • 10 ounces greens (I used half arugula, half little gems)
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  • 1 medium pomegranate (about 1.5 to 2 cups arils), separated
  • 1 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped and toasted
  • 2/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, separated
  • 1 batch shallot vinaigrette

  1. Toss the salad. Combine the greens, apple, avocado, fennel, half of the pomegranate arils, walnuts, and half of the Parmesan in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle evenly with the shallot vinaigrette and toss gently until evenly combined.
  2. Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining pomegranate arils and Parmesan and a few twists of freshly-ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Christmas Pomegranate Salad Closeup

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