Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday that holds special appeal for tree-loving nature worshippers like me. It is described as a new year for the trees, and while it coincides with spring in the middle east, here in Toronto it is celebrated in the depths of winter, providing a welcome festive focus to January or February.
Friends of mine host a Tu Bishvat seder dinner every year. We start by going around the table and sharing which is our favourite kind of tree and why. I always have trouble choosing, but will pick one to highlight some of the medicine trees have to offer, like willow or hawthorn. They ask each guest to bring a food contribution in keeping with the tree theme.
I have brought this dish for several years. It is a yummy salad, providing a perfect counterpoint to rich winter food with its nutrient-dense ingredients, and bitter, sweet, and fresh flavours. But more tree-relevantly, it contains the fruit of two trees (avocado, pomegranate), the nuts of one tree (pecan), and the heart of another (palm). It also happens to feature red and green, making it in keeping with the colour theme of a certain December holiday 🙂 In our household, we think it pairs well with roast for Christmas dinner, too!
Consider this salad for a festive occasion in your life this winter.
Festive Tree-Celebrating Salad
- 1 box baby arugula or 2 bunches arugula, washed & chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, cut into quarter rounds
- 1 can heart of palm, drained and sliced in rounds
- 1 medium haas avocado, diced
- Seeds of 1/2 -1 pomegranate
- 1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and toss well with dressing to coat.
For pretty presentation, toss arugula with dressing before adding the other ingredients artfully into the serving bowl or individual salad bowls.
- Olive oil – ~1/4 cup
- Lemon juice – ~1 lemon
- Dijon mustard – ~ 2 tsp
- Sea salt – ~ 1 tsp
- Maple Syrup – ~2 tsp
- Garlic, pressed – ~ 1 small clove
Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify.
Taste and adjust quantities as needed to please your palate.