My guess is that I could easily count, on one hand, the number of people who think of cranberries when I mention summer salad. I further contend that absolutely no one would come up with the word “beet” when I mention the same thing. And yet this tasty, healthful combination makes a very delicious and nutritious, cooling summer side dish that can do double duty as a salad or light, refreshing dessert. It works for brunch or lunch, is a welcome addition to your summer holiday weekend buffet, it’s easy (now I have your attention), it can be prepared up to a week ahead (ditto), and makes for a most pleasing presentation. Dixie cups are the secret to their shape and I won’t tell if you won’t.
Frosty Summer Salad with Cranberry,
Pineapple & Beet
1 16-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 3-ounce package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
each sliced into four ½” circles
Put cranberry sauce into a medium bowl and crush with a fork. Stir in pineapple and lemon juice; mix thoroughly, set aside. Whip cream until stiff; blend in cream cheese, mayonnaise, sugar and nuts. Beginning with cranberry mixture, alternate layers of cranberry and cream mixtures in 8 5-ounce paper cups (I used Dixie bathroom cups). Place cups into a 9” x 9” pan and place in freezer, freezing until firm.
When ready to serve, place a cleaned leaf of lettuce on each serving plate. Using a 2” biscuit cutter, cut a circle out of each beet slice, and place on lettuce leaf. Remove frozen salad from the freezer and peel away paper cups. Invert on top of beet slice, pressing down lightly. Garnish with a spritz of light cream and a sprig of mint. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Yields: 8
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Nothing beats (if you'll pardon the pun) the convenience of these steamed, ready-to-eat beets from Melissa's Produce.