This Winter Fruits Salad with Maple Dijon dressing is a bright flavor pick-me-up. Cranberries, oranges, and Pomegranate arils create a colorful plate to cut through the winter blues. Easy meal prep and substitution ideas included.
Who says salad has to be restricted to summertime fare? While the summer produce section is undeniably inviting with its vivid hues, this winter fruits salad still packs a tasty punch and antioxidants.
And much to my delight, my husband was also a huge fan. I didn’t expect that (I’m thrilled though!). It’s a beautiful balance of bright citrus, earthy goat cheese, and crunchy pecans. The juicy pomegranate arils are tart with underlying notes of sweetness. The bright orange, red and green colors pop through those winter blues!
Why make recipe this now?
- My Maple Dijon Salad Dressing is a showstopper. It’s tangy, light, and straightforward.
- Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and even anti-inflammatory compounds.
- A bright, colorful salad with a little salty goat cheese sprinkled on top.
- Easy to customize and add in other seasonal fruits.
- Sometimes called Christmas fruit salad, it makes perfect use of seasonal fruits from Thanksgiving time to March.
Add this recipe to your weekly meal prep rotation for an easy lunch option or to break up dinner time monotony.
Winter Fruit Salad Recipe Ideas
Despite having only 6 ingredients in the salad, there is so much flavor! Peak pomegranate season is October through January, so I have listed some other winter fruits you could try for a colorful boost during these cold months.
- Winter fruits – I used pomegranate arils (the tiny seed fruits that come out of pomegranates), dried cranberries, and mandarin oranges for this salad, but there are a variety of fruit choices listed below that would be equally lovely.
- Mixed Greens – The hearty greens pair perfectly with the roasted squash and nutty wheat berries.
- Pecans or Walnuts – For crunch! The toasting is everything in my humble opinion.
- Goat cheese – Feta is a great substitute if you like more tang. Goat cheese is very soft and a little more salty, briny tasting than feta.
- And an maple dijon vinaigrette – This simple 6-ingredient dressing ties the whole salad together with a bright sweetness.
Other winter fruit salad ideas that are in season:
- Clementines, Mandarin oranges, and Naval Oranges
- Lemons and Meyer Lemons
- Pomegranate arils (Late fall to Mid-winter)
- Dried fruits such as figs, cranberries, cherries, and others
- Pears (late fall to early winter)
How To Toast Pecans
For the best result, toast your pecans as whole pieces, then chop them if you desire. Toasting pecans that are similar in size rather will promote even toasting.
The easiest way is to toast pecans is the oven. Space them out on a large, rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 mins. Flip and toss. Return and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let fully cool before adding to salad.
They can also be toasted on a stovetop and are best for batches ¾ cup or smaller.
Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until they are a deep golden brown and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Stirring frequently will prevent uneven toasting or burning. Transfer to a cutting board or plate and cool completely.
More Fruit Salad Recipes
- Strawberry Poppyseed Salad
- Broccoli Apple Salad
- Mediterranean Salmon Avocado Salad
- Light Vinaigrette Dressing
Maple Dijon Dressing Recipe
This recipe is a bit of a play on honey mustard but it’s not as thick and the maple adds a cozy twist. It’s also the perfect additional balance to this sweet and citrusy salad! Here is an overview of what you will need.
It’s as easy as whisking the ingredients together and letting it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the salad.
This dressing is just the right tangy sweetness to add a little something to blend the flavors. The consistency is just enough to grab onto each bite of salad without overpowering the bold fruits.
It’s also extremely delicious as a marinade for chicken and pork loin!
- This salad makes great use of rotisserie chicken breast if you want some protein.
- If you want to use a store-bought salad dressing, I recommend either poppy seed salad dressing, Ken’s Raspberry Vinaigrette, or Balsamic Vinaigrette. But seriously, the maple Dijon is something not to miss!
- We also have a homemade poppy seed dressing and a raspberry vinaigrette recipe if those sound appealing.
- Keep all of the ingredients bite sized. I love to load multiple flavors on one fork.
- If you use apples or pears, add a bit of lemon juice over to help them resist browning.
Serving and Storage Suggestions
Serve: The beauty of this salad is that it is so colorful and makes a great lunch or light dinner. I might add a crusty loaf of bread if desired. You can also pair as a side dish with soups and sandwiches Chicken salad on a Croissant, paninis, Chicken Meatball Soup, or Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.
Storage: The salad dressing will be good in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Shake well before serving. I spin and separate the nuts and lettuce from the rest, but the fruits can be stored together for up to 4 days in a tightly covered container, with the dressing separate.
Make Ahead Tips: If you want to get a head start on your prep for this recipe, use a Salad Bento Box container and store the lettuce, fruits, dried fruits and nuts, and dressing in separate spaces for lunch prep. That way you can grab everything you need from the fridge and go!
Frequently Asked Questions
I personally don’t like bananas, overripe avocados, or lemons in a fruit salad. Mostly, it’s a texture preference and bananas tend to get slimy rather quickly.
Store the fruits separate from items that may turn soggy such as lettuce, nuts, or dried fruits. Toss cut fruits in a bit of lemon juice (it won’t affect the taste) to help them resist turning brown.
What's For Dinner?
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Winter Fruits Salad
For the Salad
- 1.5 cup Pecans or Walnuts or Sliced Almonds
- 8-10 ounces Mixed Greens
- 2 Oranges with peel removed
- 1 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 Pomegranate
- ½ cup Goat Cheese
Maple Dijon Dressing
- 3 tablespoon full-fat, good-quality mayo Like Hellman's or Duke's
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
- 2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- Make the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. In a jar or small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Shake or whisk to combine and store until ready to use. Add salt and pepper to taste if you like.
- Toast the nuts. Add nuts, well spaced out, to a parchment-paper-lined sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 mins. Flip and toss. Return and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let fully cool before adding to salad.
- Make the salad. In a very large bowl, add the mixed greens, orange slices, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries. Top with the cooled pecans.
- Taste and adjust accordingly. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to combine. Top salad with goat cheese. Serve.