Recipe: Ensalada de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Salad)

Colorful salad with surprising flavor

A favorite holiday dish for Mexicans is the ensalada de Noche Buena—or Christmas Eve salad. The tradition calls for serving this flavorful salad on Christmas Eve or at holiday celebrations prior to Christmas Eve. It is a combination of colorful fruits and vegetables mixed together with a sweet dressing. 

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¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 beets, cooked and julienned
2 apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
2 bananas, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 cup fresh pineapple cubes
½ cup unsalted peanuts


1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, salt, and cilantro. Set aside.
2. Wash, dry and shred the lettuce leaves before arranging them on the bottom of a glass bowl.
3. Then layer the beets and fruit on top. The salad can be mixed, although, it doesn’t have to be.
4. Garnish with peanuts and pour the dressing over the salad before enjoying.

Health benefits of this traditional salad

The ensalada de Noche Buena is low in calories and rich in antioxidants to keep you healthy this holiday season. The pineapple and oranges (as well as optional lime and jicama) are all sources of vitamin C, while the banana provides potassium, a mineral that many Americans lack.

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Beets, pomegranates and the colorful skin of apples supply an array of flavonoids, which are known to provide a wealth of antioxidant protection. The entire salad is a great source of fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat from the peanuts and olive oil dressing.

The abundance of nutritional benefits this salad provides makes it worthy of eating all year round.

This recipe is courtesy of Alex Garcia and

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