If you are looking for an easy but festive low carb salad for the holidays, this one is for you. It’s a delicious spinach based salad with tangy goat cheese, candied pecans, salty pancetta and sweet pomegranate seeds. You can make this recipe in little time and the net carbs per serving is only 2.6g net carbs.
You might also like this low carb layered Cobb salad.
One of the side dishes that is often overlooked during the holiday dinners in the salad. This year I was asked to bring one to my sister’s and I wanted to make something colorful. So I came up with this easy yet festive low carb salad with a baby spinach base and lots of tasty toppings. It was delicious and I could have eating the whole bowl!
Low Carb salad ingredients I used
Nothing is better than cheese and nuts on a salad if you ask me. Today I used some of my keto candied pecans which are super easy to make. You only need butter, Swerve brown sugar and raw pecans to make them. Make a big batch because you can use them in a lot of dishes.
I also use goat cheese, pancetta, cucumbers, baby spinach and pomegranate seeds.
What is pancetta?
I found a small container of diced pancetta ham at the grocery store and thought it would be perfect with the other salad ingredients. Pancetta is similar to bacon in that it’s made from pork belly and cured. However the curing process is a bit different. You can learn more about the differences between pancetta, bacon and prosciutto if you are interested.
If you cannot find pancetta or you don’t want to use it, a good bacon would be a fine substitute. I would use a nice quality thick bacon if you are using that. Below you can see what the pancetta looks like before browning it.
Just saute the diced pancetta in a skillet until nice and browned. Then drain on a piece of paper towel and set aside.
Delicious go to low carb salad dressing
I just used a simple vinaigrette salad dressing that is my go to recipe. I learned how to make it from my sister Patti. She gave us cute salad seasoning mix presents one Christmas and I’ve been making it ever since. Her blog has lots of really cool diy projects if you like that kind of thing.
It’s simply vinegar, olive oil, salt, garlic, Italian seasoning and a little dijon mustard. You can use different vinegars or seasonings to change it up at times. As I said it’s our go to salad dressing.
Putting this holiday salad together
I suggest you mix the baby spinach and cucumber slices first. Then just before serving the salad, I would toss them with the salad dressing and then add in pecans, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and pancetta. Lightly fold the topping in the salad or just keep them on top. The salad can get soggy if you dress it well ahead of time and you want to keep the nuts and pancetta a bit crunchy.
Winter salad Recipe substitutions
While I love this combination you can make substitutions.
- You can use different lettuces instead of the spinach, such as romaine or mesclun greens.
- As mentioned above you can substitute a good thick bacon for the pancetta.
- Instead of goat cheese you can use blue cheese or even feta or asiago cheese. You want to use a sharp cheese though.
- While pomegranates are in season during the holidays, you can also use strawberries or raspberries which are bright and not too sweet.
- If you don’t want to make the candied pecans you can just light toast them in a skillet and let them cool. However the sweetness really adds to the salad.
- Lastly you can use a different dressing if you want. I also like this maple bacon vinaigrette recipe or any Italian dressing would work.
How to make this into a low carb dinner salad
This is definitely a flavorful salad just on it’s own so if you want to eat it for dinner I would recommend it because I did! You can add a piece of grilled salmon or a chicken breast to make it more of a meal. It would also go great with a nice steak for a fancierl dinner in the winter months. You wouldn’t need anything else just the salad and the steak.
Well I loved this salad and I’m glad I have some leftover ingredients so I can have it again. I hope you give it a try whether or not you are going to a party or having one yourself. It’s a delicious winter salad recipe that’s flavorful and low carb. The nutritional information for 1 serving of salad with dressing is:
313 cals / 30.8g fat / 4.4g carbs / 1.8g fiber / 5.9g protein = 2.6g net carbs
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 cups candied pecans
- 1/2 cucumber slices
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- DRESSING INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Start by browning the pancetta in a skillet. When finished drain on a paper towel and let cool.
- While that's cookiing, toss the spinach and cucumber slices and mix the salad dressing.
- When ready to eat, toss the spinach and cucumbers with the dressing and then either fold in the other ingredients or scatter over the top for a nice presentation.
While I love this combination you can make substitutions.
You can use different lettuces instead of the spinach, such as romaine or mesclun greens.
You can substitute a good thick bacon for the pancetta.
Instead of goat cheese you can use blue cheese or even feta or asiago cheese. You want to use a sharp cheese though.
While pomegranates are in season during the holidays, you can also use strawberries or raspberries which are bright and not too sweet.
If you don't want to make the candied pecans you can just light roast them in a skillet and let the cool. However the sweetness really adds to the salad.
Lastly you can use a different dressing if you want. I also like this maple bacon vinaigrette recipe or any Italian dressing would work.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Net Carbohydrates: 2.6g