If ever there were a “festive” salad, this arugula with goat cheese, hazelnuts and pomegranate is it. Fitting to its Christmas theme, this salad was served post Christmas tree hunting expedition with friends last Sunday.

Late morning, we headed northeast into Christmas tree farmland to secure our 2013 tree.  Taking a tractor ride up a hill on a chilly, post snowstorm day, we began the hunt for our favorite blue spruce. The kids were in tow, decked out in snow pants and boots, making periodic snow angels and hurling snowballs at all involved.

It took us roughly 20 minutes to find our tree —  a 9 foot plus  monstrosity that we measured to ensure it would fit in our living room.  Once cut down, we observed the 10 rings of life of this green giant.  Then it was hauled down the hill and put atop our car for an escort home.

Post adventure, we enjoyed a hearty chili along with this arugula salad.  My friend, Carolyn had actually made a weekend table turkey chili recipe from last year, using half dark and half white turkey meat and omitting the red pepper.  I didn’t even recognize it as my own, but this slight tweak delivered a yummy lunch to warm us up. Even one kid requested a serving and enjoyed it!

The arugula salad was a nice pairing to the chili with its goat cheese and hazelnuts. The added dimension of the pomegranates gave it pop that had both a pleasing texture and taste.  It was dressed in a mustard vinaigrette with a touch of truffle oil.  The kids weren’t interested, but four adults polished it off.

Back home after lunch, we proceeded to let the monster tree that weighed probably 160 lbs – stand tall.  After breaking last year’s stand, my husband made an emergency trip to Home Depot.  Then, with a more robust new stand in hand, he managed to lift the heavy tree to great heights.  I will confess that there were a couple of holes which were minimized by strategic placement of lights.  It also bears a striking resemblance to the leaning tower of Pisa at one angle. But end product – adorned with ornaments galore – was enjoyed by all.

It was a good day.  Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, and Cheers!

Arugula with Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts and Pomegranate
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
  • 1 bunch arugula (5 oz container)
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • ½ tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine first three salad ingredients.
  2. Toast hazelnuts for 8 minutes on 400 degrees. Let cool. Remove skins with wet paper towel and coarsely chop.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together oils, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
  4. Toss vinaigrette with salad shortly before serving.


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