Festive Bitter Lettuce Salad

Source: Crushing Cancer Kitchen by Dana McIntyre

Besides the simple fact that I’m being cooked for this Christmas–that never gets old -one of my favourite parts of going to my Aunt and Uncle’s for dinner is my Aunt’s veggie dishes. Vibrantly coloured salads, Brussels sprouts cooked in new and interesting ways, and often some underutilized non-potato root veg.

Bitter Greens Salad

I think there is always room for some new characters at the holiday table. I know that a rogue raisin in the stuffing has been known to ruin the night, but if it is a new, optional dish as opposed to a reinvented old favourite, there is less chance of upsetting the applecart.

Bitter Lettuce

Despite the fact that you might not expect to see salad as part of the holiday table (salads are for the new year, right?) the salad recipe I have for you this week will be delicious with the rest of your holiday meal, or any time, really. Thanks to the robust lettuces we are using, it can sit out at room temp without going limp and share a plate with some hot quinoa stuffing and mushroom gravy without wilting too much. The fact that it doesn’t need to be fridge-cold to be enjoyable also means that it won’t make you chilly, an important holiday bonus.

Julienned lettuce

It is also a nice raw dish to fill up on that will help you digest the rest of your meal. I have chosen some opinionated, bitter and peppery greens (Belgian endive, radicchio and watercress) because they taste interesting and refreshing, and will give your liver some support, something that is so necessary if you have cancer (or have had an indulgent holiday season).

Bitter is a taste that we don’t see (taste?) much of these days, but learning to embrace it, especially as an accompaniment to a rich, predominantly cooked meal, is something more than worth getting used to.

Salad Veg

It is offset by the sweetness of the pomegranate and the richness of the hazelnuts and avocado (avocados are never in season where I live, making them ok December food?). The radishes add to the watery, crisp, and pepper-y theme while adding their beautiful and seasonally appropriate colour.

Garlic and Chive Vinaigrette

A tart, lemon-y dressing rounds everything out. If you are taking this to a party, lay out all of the lettuces on a platter, top with the radishes and green onions and take the pomegranate, whole avocado, hazelnuts and dressing in separate jars. When you arrive, slice up the avocado arrange them on top of the lettuce, drizzle the dressing evenly and lastly, scatter the hazelnuts and pomegranates over the top.

Bitter Greens Salad with Hazelnuts

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all taste the love (and enzymes) in your food this Holiday season 🙂

Bitter Greens Salad

Author: Dana McIntyre

Prep time:  20 mins

Total time:  20 mins

Serves: 4-6



  • ½ head of Radicchio, thinly sliced (remove core)
  • 4 Belgian Endive, sliced thin lengthwise
  • 1 bunch Watercress, chopped up
  • 4-5 Radishes, thickly sliced
  • 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Avocado, diced or sliced
  • ¼ c Pomegranate
  • ¼ c Hazelnuts
  • ¼ c Chives, thinly sliced
  • (1 c cooked quinoa – optional to beef things up and make it a stand alone dish)

Chive & Garlic Dressing

  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp Mustard (or broccoli mustard if you made that recipe)
  • ¼ c Chives
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea(weed) Salt


For the Salad:

  1. Assemble the veggies in layers if serving on a platter. I did radicchio first then watercress, endive, radishes, green onions, avocado, pomegranate, hazelnuts and then chives.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over top.
  3. If serving as a tossed salad, toss everything together with the dressing, reserving some chives, pomegranate and hazelnuts for garnish on top.

For the Dressing:

  1. Using a blender or immersion/stick blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth and green.
  2. Use immediately or it will turn a less appetizing green (it will still be good, just less pretty).
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