I am all about using what is on hand when cooking. As long as you have great ingredients, it is hard to go wrong. This salad uses ingredients I had on hand after making Cranberry Carrot Cake last weekend. You choose the dressing you like best (and have the ingredients for). This is a great make ahead salad for a special dinner or party; and the color is fabulous for a buffet.
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/4 cup pepitas (raw small green pumpkin seeds)
4 to 5 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing*
Kale or leaf lettuce for serving
Rinse cranberries, discarding any that are soft or brown. Place in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times. Mix cranberries, carrots and pepitas. Toss with dressing and serve. Keeps well in overnight in the fridge.
Vinaigrette suggestions: Cocoa Orange (1/2 recipe), Balsamic Mustard, or Lemon.
Hints: I peel the carrots before shredding but that is not necessary if you scrub them well. Unlike typical lettuce salads, this one will meld flavors as it ages yet not wilt and die. Nothing worse than a dead salad. Chopping the cranberries by hand or with a slap chop works just fine. You could easily substitute pistachios or sunflower seeds for the pepitas. Pepitas are typically used in Mexican dishes.
I like having some very healthy options at a buffet. Of course the decadent dessert section is desirable, but off-setting that by serving several healthy dishes is almost mandatory for great hosting. Fresh, bright ingredients offer delicious opportunities to Wow without the Woe.