Christmas salad is a blend of colorful veggies, bean and cheese all tossed in homemade dressing an easy and festive salad that is a perfect addition to any holiday table menu!
Most often salads are built keeping in mind the balance of textures, nutrition etc but this time we are working on the colors of Christmas. Red - Cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper, White - Cannellini beans and feta cheese, Green - Cucumber and herbs. If you are going to follow this theme then substitutes to use are:
Red : Pomegranate , Cranberry (sweet or sour ) or dried, Beetroot or Strawberry if u can find in winter.
White : Shaved white cabbage, slivered Almonds, Apple or Pears cubed, shredded Chicken pieces.
Green : cooked Lima beans, cooked Edamame, Spinach or Arugula .
Tips for perfect Christmas salad :
- You can use canned cannelloni beans for convince. Simply drain all the liquid. (Buy low sodium ones so you need not wash. Washed beans usually have no flavor even if coated with dressing later.
- I usually buy block Feta cheese and crumble with my lovely hands because pre-crumbled is double the price for half the quantity. Plus it is already has spices and flavor most often which is not what I want. You might be knowing it contains anti caking agent and stabilizers too.
- You can use any distilled vinegar , apple cider or even lemon juice for acidity.
- Skip the olive oil if you don't want it but the beans tend to stick mash up easily.
- Roasted garlic adds creamy texture and sweet flavor but regular raw minced one will be equally good. Use garlic powder if in a hurry.
Here is another Baby lima beans salad recipe currently trending on my blog.
- 3 cloves Roasted garlic Instead use raw minced garlic or garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and sugar to taste (1/2 tsp each used here)
- 1 tbsp Rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp Basil paste Use pesto instead
- 1/2 cup Cilantro Chopped
Other ingredients :
- 1/2 cup Red onion Chopped
- 1/2 cup Red bell pepper Chopped
- 1-2 Persian cucumber Diced
- 1 cup Cherry tomato cut into two
- 1 tbsp Feta cheese Add as per taste
- Few sprigs Cilantro Cut into large pieces
Use dry or canned
- 1/2-1 cup Dry cannelloni beans (cooked )
- Soak dry cannelloni beans in plenty of water overnight. Pressure cook it for 2-3 minutes in water. Quick pressure release immediately. Drain the liquid and allow it to come to room temperature.(Check in pointers below)
- Meanwhile mash the roasted garlic add rest of the ingredients in the dressing in the same order given in the list.Make sure the you stir the oil while pouring the vinegar so it emulsifies well.
- Once the veggies and beans are added stir gently so they don't mash up
To make the Christmas salad previous day:
- Make the dressing and add 1/2 of it to the Cannellini beans so the flavors sink in. Keep both refrigerated. Keep the rest of the ingredients ready and refrigerated as well and assemble on the day of serving. Mix all the ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge until ready to be served.
NOTE : If cooking Cannelini beans in instant pot then :
- Cannellini beans have a shorter cooking time when soaked overnight so it is better to cook for 2-3 minutes in pressure cooker and do quick pressure release immediately or you might end up with mashed beans.
How to salvage slightly mashed beans ?
- If the beans look mashed do not touch or stir it. Instead immediately pour plenty of cold water gently into the cooking pot, this will stop the cooking process immediately. Allow this to sit for few minutes without disturbing it.Once the bean has come to room temperature you can drain the water and use the Cannellini beans. You can reverse the damage by 75-80 % in this way and regain the shape and texture.
- Remember under cooked beans can be cooked further to achieve right consistency. But salvaging mashed beans is impossible unless you want to throw it in a hummus or bean paste. Repurposing does not end there- add body to soups, meat balls, croquettes or other recipes that uses mashed beans.
- Check this instant pot chart for best results with legumes and beans.
Hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know.