I don’t think I will ever grow out of the childish excitement for Christmas. There is just something magical about this time of the year, when the Scandinavian winter takes hold, and we curl up inside around the fireplace, put up Christmas decorations everywhere, cover our bushes in fairy lights, and enjoy the company of our family. Simply amazing.
There is only one thing I don’t like: the food. Well, to be precise, not the sweets and cookies – those are seriously the best in the world – rather the savoury food, the main dishes. Danish Christmas food consists of almost nothing but all different sorts of meat and potatoes and pickled red cabbage. So it’s pretty hard to be a vegetarian who doesn’t like potatoes and pickled goods. This year, I’ve lived off salad and bread at all the Christmas parties. Though I am not complaining – it just leaves more room for the epic traditional Danish Christmas dessert ‘ris à l’amande‘ – it’s a simply incredible treat!
So for Christmas Eve dinner, I always make a festive Christmas salad for the 14 people in my family. It’s a job which I take very seriously and I aim to improve my recipe every year. I strive to make the most colourful, delicious and nourishing salad to complement the rest of the heavy food. This year’s super food salad was extra Christmassy, dressed in the red pomegranate and green cabbage. The oil free lemon and maple dressing gives the salad a fresh taste and goes perfectly with the rest of the meal, but still has a light sweetness from the fruits and maple candied pecans. Oh and it’s a perfect super healthy addition to your Christmas table with ingredients like cabbage, which is high in fibre and helps lower cholesterol, antioxidant rich pomegranate, pecans full of healthy fats and cholesterol lowering oranges.
- For the salad:
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup pecans
- ¼ head red cabbage or ½ head purple pointed cabbage
- ¼ head savoy cabbage
- 2 oranges
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (craisins) – not sugared!
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- Dash of salt
- Start by making the pecans by heating up a small frying pan without any oil. Add the pecans and toast for 3-5 minutes or they start to waft a delicious scent.
- Pour over the maple syrup and let it boil over low heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Make sure you stir a lot – it easily burns.
- Once done, spread the pecans out on a piece of baking paper and allow to cool.
- Shred the savoy and red cabbage very thinly.
- Peel the oranges and cut them into small squares. Prepare the pomegranate seeds.
- Mix everything together in a big bowl and add in the cranberries.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing.
- Right before serving, stir the dressing through and top with candied pecans.