Refreshing Salad Cure to Holiday Food | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Refreshing Salad Cure to Holiday Food

“It’s nice to have a lift in the middle of the meal to help offset the pound of cheese you just ingested.”

With the holidays in full swing, heavy foods dominate our tables to substitute for all the sunlight we’re missing. But it’s nice to have a lift in the middle of the meal to help offset the pound of cheese you just ingested or the quart of eggnog you drank. 

Winter salads with lots of citrus (which is now coming into season) can come to the rescue. Limes are nearing the end of their peak, but substituting lemons is a snap. When I’m feeling particularly kitchen-savvy, I buy extra citrus during the winter months to preserve for later use. For fresh use though, brightening up salads is a great use for citrus.

I made this dish for a dinner party I had with friends, and even the fennel-opposed liked it. Fennel is a strong flavor, but sliced thinly it’s more manageable and makes for great crunch in a salad. Pomegranates are a lot of work but they are beautiful, and the ruby color looks festive against the greens. 

This salad is zesty and fibrous, perfect for aiding digestion. The best part of this dish is that it looks like you really thought it out, when the bulk of the work is just a lot of chopping. If your knife skills are a little shaky, it also provides a good opportunity to practice slicing thinly, which I often find myself getting pretty lazy on when I’m cooking for only myself. 


  • 3 bulbs fennel
  • 7 stalks celery
  • ¼ cup celery leaves
  • 2 pomegranates
  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh black pepper


Wash fennel and celery. Remove the stalks and fronds from the fennel and peel the bulb. Slice thinly by hand or on a mandolin. Remove leaves and white ends from the celery stalks. Save leaves, chop roughly and set aside. Slice celery thinly. Combine celery, leaves and fennel in a large bowl. Peel pomegranates and toss seeds in the bowl with the greens. Add lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Serve. Serves 12.