Salad dressing is an interesting thing. Most people’s only experience with it is the bottled kind. If you are one of those people, then I feel sorry for you. Salad dressing can be downright exciting with a little experimentation and a few quality ingredients. Recently, I was re-reading past issues of the magazines I subscribe to and I came across this recipe for cranberry balsamic dressing in an old Southern Living. Let me tell you, this dressing is anything but boring. Slightly spicy from the Dijon, a little sweet from the cranberries, and a little tart from the balsamic vinegar, this dressing has it where it counts. We fell in love with it instantly. The original recipe from Southern Living was actually for a turkey salad. So we, of course, swapped it out for more veggies and honestly more flavor. This is going to be added to the regular rotation, although it is a nice use of the extra cranberry sauce you may have lying around after Thanksgiving next year. Don’t wait until then to try it though, it’s too darn good to be relegated to a holiday only recipe. I added carrots, cheese, and snap peas to the recipe to add a little punch and balance out the flavors. The finally addition was a really great, extra sharp cheddar cheese. The cheddar made the cranberries sing. So don’t skip that detail.
Cranberry Balsamic Salad with Cheddar Cheese (adapted from Southern Living Nov 2011 – Turkey Salad with Cranberry Dressing)
- 1 package spring greens mix
- 1 head of romaine, washed and chopped
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 cup snap peas, ends removed and cut in half
- 4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, thinly shaved
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine greens, cucumber, carrots, snap peas and toss. Top with cheese. Process vinegar and next 6 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve with salad.