Bold and beautiful Cranberry Vinaigrette is a quick, easy and festive way to brighten up most any holiday salad. It can be prepared with cranberry relish, chutney, sauce or even frozen cranberry cocktail!
As you may have noticed, I love cranberries. Dried or fresh, in salads, bread, cookies or dessert, their bold, tangy flavor and bright red color add depth and beauty to most any dish. I especially like to cook with them around the holidays, starting in mid-November.
How I created this Cranberry Vinaigrette
One year, I was looking for a new way to use up our Thanksgiving leftovers, and decided to create a turkey salad. Along with mixed greens, leftover cooked turkey, feta cheese, candied walnuts and sliced red onion, I needed a colorful dressing that was both flavorful and well-balanced – not too sweet, not to tart. Plus, it needed to complement the other ingredients, mainly the turkey. When I looked into my refrigerator for ideas, I immediately was drawn to a glass jar of leftover Cranberry Relish.
What’s in my Cranberry Vinaigrette
Presto! A Cranberry Vinaigrette salad dressing would be perfect. After playing around with various ingredients, I hit on the right mixture and balance that both Robert and I love. A walnut oil-olive oil mixture amps up the nutty flavor from the candied walnuts, Dijon mustard enhances the tang of the cranberry while also balancing out the sweetness in the relish, balsamic vinegar also reduces the sweet without adding too much acidity.
How to serve Cranberry Vinaigrette
You can serve this scrumptious Cranberry Vinaigrette dressing with the salad I describe above. Simply toss mixed greens with chopped cooked turkey (or chicken), goat or feta cheese crumbles, candied or toasted walnuts (could also use pecans), thinly sliced red onion or shallots. Or, leave out the turkey and serve it as a side salad. Add in some dried cranberries, too!
It’s also delicious on these salads:
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Other delicious recipes with cranberry:
- Cranberry and Golden Raisin Relish
- Pork Tenderloin with Port, Balsamic and Cranberry Sauce
- Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
- Pears with Cranberries, Walnuts and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- Cranberry Nut Bread
- Snowblower Cocktail
- 1/4 cup cranberry relish, chutney or sauce (can also use cranberry cocktail concentrate)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon-pear balsamic vinegar – or white balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt, to taste
- In the bowl of a small food processor or blender, whirl together the cranberry, mustard, oils and vinegar. Season to taste with kosher salt.
- Put in a jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Make ahead: Vinaigrette can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.
To increase tartness: If your cranberry relish is more on the sweet side, you might want to use white wine vinegar instead of the balsamic vinegar, to lessen the sweetness.
Note on color: your vinaigrette may come out lighter – or darker – in color than my photograph. It depends on the ingredients in the cranberry sauce and/or what vinegar you use. It will still be just as delicious!
- Category: salad dressing
- Method: blending