Bitter Greens with Manchego and Cranberry Dressing

Because this is a festive salad, I just had to squeeze it in before the end of 2021. I made it for Thanksgiving, and it’s truly unique. I had no problem making it a second time!

The recipe, from Bon Appetit, is called Bitter Greens with Cranberry Dressing. What initially caught my attention was how pretty the salad is.

It’s a mixture of bitter greens, with parsley, mint, shaved Manchego cheese, glazed pecans, and a lemony cranberry dressing, made with canned cranberry sauce. You can bet that this was the first time I ever bought canned cranberry sauce.

Because of timing, I purchased glazed/candied pecans, even though they are so easy to make. I used really good Manchego cheese, and bought the best bitter greens I could find.

Bitter Greens with Cranberry Dressing

3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 – 14 ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
6 heads of green and/or red endive, quartered
2 heads of frisée, torn into similar sizes
4 ounces Manchego, shaved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix raw sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a bowl. Add pecans and toss to coat. Spread pecans out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until sugar is bubbling, 6-8 minutes, then continue to bake 3 minutes longer to allow sugar to caramelized. Let cool; break into small pieces. Or, buy some already glazed pecans.

Whisk cranberry sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, and 5 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl to combine. Season cranberry dressing with salt.

Whisk parsley, mint, vinegar, and remaining 7 tablespoons oil in a large bowl to combine; season herby dressing with salt and pepper. Add endive and frisée to bowl and toss to coat. (I didn’t include the mint because you just never know who likes what!) Do this just before serving, although I don’t mind a little wilting.

Arrange salad on a platter and drizzle some cranberry dressing over. Top with Manchego and candied pecan pieces.

Serve with remaining cranberry dressing alongside.

This salad is incredible. You could make the dressing with leftover cranberry sauce, or simply make a lemon dressing. The combination is spectacular.

Serve with a creamy pasta or crepes for a perfect lunch or light dinner.

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen December 16, 2021 at 7:13 AM - Reply

    This is a perfect salad in my book Mimi! I adore bitter greens, and a tart dressing to go with it!

    • chef mimi December 16, 2021 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      It really was amazing. I might make it a third time before the new year!

  2. chef mimi December 16, 2021 at 7:46 AM - Reply

    Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful christmas!

  3. chef mimi December 16, 2021 at 7:47 AM - Reply

    Frozen cheese? Wouldn’t it kind of “burn” the greens? Well, who knows?! Thanks!

  4. chef mimi December 16, 2021 at 7:48 AM - Reply

    Thank you Kay! Happy holidays to you and your sweet family!

  5. Jeff the Chef December 16, 2021 at 9:10 AM - Reply

    How fantastic! I can’t believe it calls for a whole can of cranberry sauce! This looks like a salad that’s definitely worth a try!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:04 AM - Reply

      I know. But I have a whole jar of leftover dressing; it makes a lot!

  6. Charlie DeSando December 16, 2021 at 9:44 AM - Reply

    Visually pleasing and tasty!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      Thanks! I was truly surprised at how well it all worked!

  7. francefougere December 16, 2021 at 10:53 AM - Reply

    Magnifique ! :)

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:03 AM - Reply


  8. Gerlinde December 16, 2021 at 4:27 PM - Reply

    That’s a great looking salad Mimi. Bitter greens with a cranberry dressing, a delicious combination. Happy Holidays.

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      It was so good. I might make it a third time by 2022!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      I was actually surprised at how good it was! I guess that canned cranberry sauce made me skeptical!

  9. sherry December 16, 2021 at 5:38 PM - Reply

    very christmassy. looks great.

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      I know! So pretty!

  10. Cynthia M Woodman December 16, 2021 at 10:09 PM - Reply

    what an elegant salad perfect for holiday entertaining.

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      It really is! I might make it a third time!

  11. spicedblog December 17, 2021 at 6:51 AM - Reply

    What a fun recipe, Mimi – I can see why you made this one twice! And what a creative way to use canned cranberry sauce, too.

    • chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      Definitely. Although it would certainly work with any home made sauce as well. Just a little sweet, and very lemony!

  12. chef mimi December 17, 2021 at 9:03 AM - Reply

    Well how odd! I’m sorry! I’m having someone re-do my blog, so hopefully I won’t have these problems in the future.

  13. Gloria Roa Baker December 17, 2021 at 5:29 PM - Reply

    Love this salad looks delicious Mimi, Merry Christmas for you!!

    • chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:07 AM - Reply

      Merry Christmas Gloria!

  14. For the Love of Cooking December 17, 2021 at 5:38 PM - Reply

    My kind of salad! Looks delicious.

    • chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:06 AM - Reply

      Yes! Great flavors and textures.

  15. Frank Fariello December 18, 2021 at 8:05 AM - Reply

    Such a pretty salad, Mimi! And very festive. Merry Christmas!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2021 at 2:50 PM - Reply

      Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  16. chef mimi December 18, 2021 at 2:49 PM - Reply

    Isn’t it all great?! I loved this salad, and will make it again for christmas!

  17. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats December 19, 2021 at 2:15 PM - Reply

    Such a great combination of colors and flavors. A great find! :)

    • chef mimi December 19, 2021 at 2:21 PM - Reply

      It’s pretty wonderful!

  18. David Scott Allen December 19, 2021 at 4:20 PM - Reply

    Such a fabulous combination of flavors and textures in this, Mimi! From bitter to tart to sweet to savory to crunchy to soft. So good!

    • chef mimi December 19, 2021 at 4:20 PM - Reply

      Exactly! It was so so good. Very satisfying.

  19. December 20, 2021 at 6:10 AM - Reply

    A salad with cranberry? Wow. As a lover of both salads and cranberries this is right up my street and something unique. Love it! Hope you have an amazing Christmas Mimi!

    • chef mimi December 20, 2021 at 4:31 PM - Reply

      Thank you Neil! You and yours as well!

  20. Greg Henry December 21, 2021 at 12:24 PM - Reply

    This salad is definitely calling all of us elves to the table! Merry Christmas… GREG

    • chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:06 AM - Reply

      Merry Christmas Greg, to you and yours.

  21. Raymund December 21, 2021 at 2:01 PM - Reply

    That indeed looks good! The colours as well spell Christmas

    • chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:05 AM - Reply

      It’s very pretty! Thank you.

  22. chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:07 AM - Reply

    It’s so pretty, and perfect for the holidays!

  23. chef mimi December 24, 2021 at 7:07 AM - Reply

    It’s got lovely colors and textures. Merry Christmas!

  24. chef mimi December 30, 2021 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    I was impressed with the dressing! A little sweet, a little lemony. Perfect with the greens! Happy New Year!

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