As we get near the holidays, I am really loving the simple joys of cooking. For me, that means assembling an easy and beautiful salad. This holiday salad is made even easier using my new jar-shaken Balsamic Poppyseed dressing. It’s not Whole30, but it’s gluten free, dairy free, and absolutely luscious.

holiday salad on a red serving platter

What to Add to Your Holiday Salad

Since this is a late fall early winter holiday salad, there is so much lovely fruit in season. It’s perfect for citrus like tangerines, apples, pears, pomegranates and persimmons. I find it is best served on a bed of soft lettuce, like bib. It builds a sweet, fruit forward salad that makes the perfect appetizer to any meal.

balsamic poppyseed dressing on a spoon

For some creaminess, we also added goat cheese. The glazed pecans give it a little kick and crunch. The Balsamic Poppyseed dressing is a beautiful, light dressing that complements the salad without overpowering it. What makes it even better is all you have to do is combine all ingredients and shake!

How to Make Bobbie’s Glazed Pecans

Glazing nuts is an easy way to elevate a salad. It’s quick and easy to do but it add a fantastic contrast to the other ingredients in the salad. These glazed pecans are named after my dear friend Rachel’s mother. This is her recipe and I’ve used it for years and years.

pecan glaze

You combine water, sugar, salt and cayenne in a pan to make the glaze, then stir in the pecans. Place the pecans on a buttered baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes. They are great in a holiday salad, but I also love them for snacking. They will stay best in an airtight container.

If you make this holiday salad, make sure you rate and review it below! I love hearing about your takes on it and how you liked it. If you’re looking for more inspiration, sign up for our Friday Favorites newsletter, and follow along on Pinterest and Instagram to join in all the fun!

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holiday salad on a red serving platter

Simple Balsamic Poppyseed Holiday Salad

  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Salad
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This holiday salad is a great appetizer for any holiday gathering. It’s quick and easy to make so it’s a stress free addition to the menu!


For Grandma Bobbie’s Glazed Pecans

  •   Butter for greasing
  •   3 tablespoons water
  •   1/2 cup coconut sugar
  •   1 teaspoon salt
  •   1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  •   2 cups pecans

For the Salad

  •   5 ounces butter or bib lettuce, any soft lettuce works
  •   Kosher salt
  •   2 persimmons, thinly sliced in rounds
  •   1 pear, cut in half then thinly sliced
  •   1 apple, cut in half then thinly sliced
  •   3 mandarins, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
  •   Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  •   8 ounces goat cheese
  •   Balsamic Poppyseed Dressing, recipe below
  •   Freshly ground black pepper

For the Balsamic Poppyseed Dressing

  •   1/2 cup olive oil
  •   2 tablespoons poppyseeds
  •   2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •   2 tablespoons honey
  •   2 tablespoons high-quality balsamic
  •   1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •   1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


Make Grandma Bobbie’s Glazed Pecans

  1.   Preheat oven 350°F.
  2.   Grease a small baking sheet with butter. Set aside.
  3.   In a small sauce pan, combine the water, coconut sugar, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to quickly caramelize, then add the pecans and stir to coat completely. Cook for an additional minute. Turn off heat and pour the pecans into the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until deeply browned—but watch closely as they can easily burn. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on foil, then break them apart.
  4.   NOTE: Use half for the salad and half for snacking! They store well in an airtight container.

Make the Dressing

  1. Combine the olive oil, poppyseeds, lemon juice, honey, balsamic, salt and mustard in a masor jar. Shake until throughly combined and enjoy!

Assemble the Salad

  1.   Spread the greens out on a large platter. Sprinkle some salt on top. Artfully arrange the persimmon , pear, apple and mandarin slices in a beautiful way. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds all over the salad. Distribute the goat cheese and 1 cup of the glazed pecans. Pour a little bit of the most delicious dressing, Balsamic Poppyseed, over the top and serve more on the side. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Keywords: holiday salad, appetizer salad