Thanksgiving is guaranteed to give us one thing… leftovers! They are the best, aren’t they? After a while, though, turkey sandwiches get a little old. Plus, after stuffing ourselves silly at the table, we might need a lighter option to enjoy our turkey with. Enter California Walnuts and my Candied Walnut recipe with Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad! This salad is not only the perfect complimentary dish to any Thanksgiving table but it is a great salad to toss your chopped leftover turkey into while catching up with family!
Before I show you how incredibly easy this salad is, let’s talk about the Walnut. Years ago I learned this super easy, less than 5 minute, candied Walnuts Recipe. It is a perfect addition to a holiday table, the perfect snack for a movie binge and a sweet and crunchy addition to any salad. I think people forget about this incredible nut. With a smooth and almost buttery taste, it is actually my preferred nut to get creative with. Experimenting with roasting walnuts and seasoning them with different herbs and spices is also a wonderful and fun way to customize favorite recipes.
Some other facts about California Walnuts:
- Walnuts are the only nut that provide a significant amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (2.5 grams per serving) and just an ounce of walnuts also provides a convenient source of protein (4 grams) and fiber (2 grams).
- California walnuts account for 99 percent of U.S. production and three-fourths of world trade. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food, dating back to 10,000 B.C.
- Walnuts have been cultivated for over a millennia.
Psst: You can maintain the fresh taste of California walnuts by keeping them cold. If you’ll be storing them for a month or longer, store them in your freezer. Store them in an air-tight container and keep them away from foods with strong odors.
Now that we know that California Walnuts are going to be a mainstay in our holiday meals and all year long, lets get to this amazing recipe!
These Candied Walnuts are addictive. You have been warned. So even though this recipe calls for just a cup of them, you might want to make a ton more. If you don’t want real sugar, use a substitute to get that sweet taste you will love.
- 1 cup California Walnuts
- ¼ cup sugar (or substitute)
- 1 tbsp butter
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Stir consistently until coated and then stir regularly for 5 minutes until warm. Pour out onto parchment paper and spread out so they don't stick together. Let cool.
I dare you to eat just one of these sweet, buttery, snacks. These are awesome to make as teacher gifts, for the neighbors or just to have in the house. Just as with walnuts alone, you can freeze them and pull them out later. Just make sure when you thaw them to do so on parchment paper so they don’t stick. Spread them out as they thaw.
Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette
Topping any salad with a Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette is just good sense. The tart of the cranberries mixed with the sweet of the Candied Walnuts will make your mouth sing! Add that leftover turkey and you have a meal that takes care of every craving you have!
- 1 cup pure cranberry juice
- ½ cup chopped fresh cranberries
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp chives (fresh or dried)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Pour the cranberry juice and cranberries into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Sauce will reduce. In a bowl, add the honey, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chives and salt and pepper. Pour in cranberry mixture and whisk to mix. Let cool in fridge. Pull out and serve over mixed greens
Now that you have the perfect salad for your holiday table, a perfect snack food in Candied Walnuts and a salad that your leftover turkey will love, you can relax and enjoy the holiday season full of flavor!
How do you incorporate walnuts into your holiday menu?