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Cranberry Orange Lettuce Salad

Two plates topped with a Cranberry Orange Lettuce Salad.

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Description

You can never have too many great salads. This Cranberry Orange Lettuce Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing is a nice winter salad when citrus fruit is in season. The addition of dried cranberries with crunchy toasted pecans are brought together with this simple homemade salad dressing. I have a pretty large collection of green salads but I look forward to this one every year and make it from late fall to early winter. This is my seasonal strategy, having different recipes that I make only when certain foods are in season.

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Orange Segments vs Canned Oranges

Today I used the segments of a naval orange in this salad. I cut the orange to remove all the peel and pith around each segments. This is a bit tedious but it is worth the effort. I’m no chef but I am pretty good at this because I do it a lot. I love cutting grapefruit like this too, just to eat straight out of a bowl.  The real culinary term for fruit cut like this is supremes, I just call it gourmet.

In December I sometimes make this salad with canned mandarin oranges. Although fresh mandarins are available at that time the bright orange colour of canned mandarin segments looks very festive. You can use any kind of citrus fruit you like.

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing for Cranberry Orange Lettuce Salad

I like cooking and eating real food as often as possible. Sure, I eat junk food like most other people, but when it comes to salads my dressing is always homemade. I learned to make homemade vinaigrette dressing when I first became interested in cooking and I just never liked any store bought dressing. The pattern was created and so that is how it works in my kitchen.

This system allows for a lot of variety. Depending how often you cook and how adventurous you are you can collect quite a variety of different oils and vinegars. But that isn’t necessary, you can easily make homemade salad dressing with olive oil and two or three different vinegars.

Homemade salad dressing will keep for weeks in the fridge so I always have a few on the go. Buy some salad dressing bottles and add a label when you make it (I love may label maker). These bottles will keep your dressings fresh and uncontaminated, the label might act as a reminder one night when you see it and think to make this salad.

Let me know in the comments below if you made the dressing for this salad and what you thought of it.

Ingredients

SALAD
1 head of soft lettuce, living lettuce or mixed leaf lettuces
1 orange cut into segments or 1 can mandarin orange segments, drained
¼ cup dried cranberries
OPTIONAL – toasted pecans
ORANGE POPPY SEED DRESSING
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp poppy seeds
3 Tbsp orange juice
¾ cup vegetable oil

Directions

1
In a small bowl combine all salad dressing ingredients except oil. Slowly whisk in the oil until the dressing is thickened slightly. Dressing will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
2
Wash and dry lettuce. Cut or tear into bite-size pieces and put in salad bowl. Add orange segments, dried cranberries and toasted pecans if using.
3
Toss salad with as much dressing as needed. Serve immediately.

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