Yesterday, we had a potluck at work. Non-denominational for the holidays, there was an Italian theme. In addition, the organizer reminded us of some food restrictions in our department: nut allergies, no eggs, gluten-free and vegetarian.
My original plan was to bring the vegan cheese log, but figured the vegans would appreciate it more. Indeed, they loved it possibly more than me! Instead of bringing vegetables for the non-vegans, I shared a treat that did not even seem vegan: the very best chocolate truffles! Also, because it met all of the listed dietary restrictions! It is nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free as well as free of artificial sweeteners and flours. It is also (almost) raw. Not quite raw because I use non-raw cocoa powder. I think a few people were scratching their head wondering exactly what was in my truffles since I had such a long list of what was not in them. All yummy, though!
(Of note, I discovered the truffles are super soft after being at room temperature for 3 hours… and I think the best remedy for this would be coat them in a magic shell!!)
I am a bit behind on my potlucks, though. At our last work potluck, celebrating Thanksgiving, I did represent the veggies with this salad. We have made this holiday-inspired ruby red dressing a few times after Emma suggested it. It adds a gorgeous colour to your salad and the delicious sweet-tart cranberries in the dressing is balanced by orange juice and maple syrup.
Pictures here with lettuce, dried cranberries, pecans and pumpkin seeds, I find it pairs amazing with brown rice or curried chickpeas to make a complete meal. Apples and cucumbers make a nice contrast, too.
I asked Rob to take photos and he told me he wanted to highlight the pretty red dressing by drizzling it in fun patterns overtop the salad. It was a bit challenging with a spoon. He may have picked up on my hint that squeeze bottles would make a nice gift (and under $5!). In actuality, he told me we already had squeeze bottles: I just need to finish the agave nectar. Not too hard after I made 3 batches of the best truffles ever within the past week. ;)
Would you have gone with the salad or chocolate?? (Or both?)
Holiday Salad with Cranberry-Orange Vinaigrette
Dressing adapted from Oh She Glows
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup, or to taste
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (or try clementines)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the cranberries, maple syrup and vinegar. Heat until the cranberries burst, around 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
2. Place mustard, orange juice, oil and the slightly cooled cranberry mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Taste and adjust flavours. Store dressing in the fridge for up to a week.
3. Serve with your favourite salad fixings. Pictured above is lettuce, dried cranberries, pecans and pumpkin seeds. It is also really good with baby spinach, cooked brown rice, curried chickpeas, chopped tart apple, cucumber, etc.
Makes 1.5 cups of dressing.