The first time I made this salad, I was still convinced I didn’t like salads.
Growing up in my family, the only salad we ever had was simple greens tossed in vinegar and oil. It’s fine, but it gets boring fast and I tend to like my salads with an element of sweetness.
I made this salad and dressing in 2014 for a Macro Feast I was hosting and my guests loved it! I sent one of them home with the rest of the dressing in a jar and a promise to share the recipe.
The theme for that Macro Feast was winter and cranberries – a seasonal fruit that brings a good zing of sour flavour and natural vitamin C and is generally cooked down in some way to enhance those warming, deepening energies that are so beneficial for our bodies in the cold weather.
I decided a cranberry dressing would be good. Maple syrup was the next ingredient that came to mind to balance out the sour and add some great minerals, vitamins, and sweetness to the mix. And to finish, lemon and olive oil. I ran with it and let my intuition guide me – leaving the cranberries in whole for some bursts of flavour!
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn to bite size pieces
- 1 head watercress, washed and torn to bite size pieces
- 1 head frisee lettuce, washed and torn to bite size pieces
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 cup cranberries
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup maple syrup
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cups toasted walnuts
Bring cranberries, water, and maple syrup to a boil. Turn down and let simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes, or until thickened and condensed. You can mash the cranberries a bit to break down the larger pieces. Cool completely in fridge before going to next step.
With a whisk, bring together the cranberry syrup, lemon juice and zest, and oil using an emulsifying method*. Dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To serve, toss a serving of the mixed greens with a few tablespoons of dressing, to taste. Garnish with chopped toasted walnuts.
Using an emulsifying method means to bring a sauce or dressing together with oil while keeping the mixture moving at a fast pace – it results in a thicker, creamier result and reduces the chance for separation of ingredients as the sauce or dressing sits.
You can use this method either with a food processor or blender (which I do not recommend for this recipe if you want to keep the cranberry chunks bigger), or the old-fashioned way using a whisk, a measuring cup, and a lot of elbow grease! Start with the cranberry syrup in a large bowl. Get it moving with the whisk – loosen it up and get it ready for mixing. In a measuring cup, whisk together lemon and oil, and slowly pour it into the syrup just a little bit at a time, while whisking furiously to combine everything as fast as possible.
You can definitely make the dressing without taking so much care to use an emulsifying method – but there’s just something really tasty and special about doing it this way. Maybe its the extra love <3