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Christmas Eve Salad

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1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 drops Tabasco sauce
8 cups torn leaves Romaine lettuce
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (16 ounce) can sliced beets, drained
1 cup Spanish peanuts

Christmas Eve Salad

This salad is a beautiful and flavorful combination of tender salad greens, beets, pineapple, and peanuts in a spicy dressing.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

My family’s Christmas Eve dinner is legendary. We didn’t have ham, or roast turkey, or chicken, or beef tenderloin, although Christmas Eve Salad was always on the menu.

Oh, no.

Because my mother always cooked very healthy, nutritious dinners, on Christmas Eve we got a treat: hot dogs!

Before you smirk, think about how smart this was. Instead of having to produce a huge elaborate dinner, we roasted hot dogs in the fireplace, had them with baked beans and this Christmas Eve salad, along with potato chips and Christmas cookies. That way she could relax too, and maybe wrap the last few presents for the morning.

I think more families should do that.

When you have little kids, what’s the point of a huge fancy dinner on Christmas Eve? The kids are just excited about presents the next day anyway. Why not do something simple, and make it cozy and fun?

Of course, we mostly ate the hot dogs and potato chips because they were such a novelty.  And baked beans from a can! Who ever heard of such a thing!

Now I appreciate that salad.

Christmas Eve Salad is a traditional Mexican dish (unusual for a bunch of Norwegians). It’s made of romaine lettuce, with apple, pineapple, beets, and lots of peanuts. Some people add bananas, but since bananas are one fruit I will NOT eat (the texture makes me shiver) I omit it.

You can add a banana if you want. Just don’t tell me about it.

The combination of textures and flavors in this salad is just wonderful. Even if you don’t like beets, you’ll like it.

So try something new this Christmas and make my family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

Your family will love it.

Why this recipe for Christmas Eve Salad works:

  • The unusual combination of dark greens, apples, beets, and pineapples combines bitter and sweet flavors that emphasize each ingredients characteristics.
  • The dressing looks complicated, but it’s actually very easy. Just keep on adding the ingredients.
  • If you’d like, you can substitute a purchased oil and vinegar salad dressing; just add some chili powder and Tabasco to the dressing.

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Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, cumin, chili powder, and Tabasco sauce in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine.


Combine the remaining ingredients in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing over, toss gently to coat, and serve.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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