I feel like salads during a holiday meal are always the bridesmaid and never the bride. They’re usually an afterthought. “Why would you want to waste valuable stomach space on a salad?” some may ask. Well, if you have weight loss goals, eating a side salad may help you to consume less when the main course comes around because you’ll be fuller sooner. Just remember, you’re supposed to stop eating when you’re comfortably full. You’re not supposed to eat the salad and then stuff yourself into oblivion with the rest of the meal!
I love making a creative salads for holiday meals. Having that spark of freshness during a heavy meal can be really refreshing. Side salads can be utterly boring. They usually consist of lettuce, carrots, tomato and balsamic dressing. Totally blah. Heck, some of my favorite salads don’t even contain lettuce!
I want my salads to have the following components:
- An unexpected ingredient to add surprise and/or richness
In my winter holiday salad, the unexpected ingredient that adds texture, color AND flavor is crumbled prosciutto chips. Crispy, salty, meaty….I think prosciutto chips are better than crumbled bacon, easier to prepare, and make less of a fatty mess than bacon. Prosciutto has almost half the calories and fat than traditional bacon and many brands don’t contain nitrates. Read ingredient labels though because many of the cheaper domestic brands are loaded with nitrates. Ideally, you want two ingredients on the label: pork and salt.
- 2 slices prosciutto
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 TBSP sherry vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 4 cups mixed greens or baby spinach
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (see my post on how to de-seed a pomegranate without making a mess!)
- 1 TBSP + 1 tsp crumbled blue cheese
- Prosciutto crisps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper. Place prosciutto slices on baking sheet and bake in oven until dried and crispy. Bake 15 minutes for paper thin slices. Slices from prepackaged brands may be a little thicker and will take approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Dijon dressing: In a small mixing bowl, add the mustard, vinegar, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine. While whisking, add the oil in a thin steady stream.
- Assemble the salads: In a medium size mixing bowl, toss the dressing with the greens. Place the dressed greens evenly among four plates. Distribute the pomegranate seeds, blue cheese and prosciutto crisps evenly over the 4 salads.