Ensalada de Noche Buena

My mom used to make this salad and I had no idea it was a traditional Mexican Christmas/Christmas Eve salad. I’m not even sure my mom knew. It was just something the family did. There are so many variations on this salad that I could post a hundred different versions, but at its heart, it’s a colorful fruit salad using in-season ingredients and it almost always features citrus. I love it and I’ll eat it any time of year.


Time to Make: 10 to 15 minutes
Makes about 6 cups of salad


The Salad

1 small beet
2 cups of baby arugula
1 orange, peeled and sliced into thin discs
1 green apple, diced
1 very small jicama, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 ripe plantain, chopped
1/3 cup of roasted salted peanuts or pepitas

The Dressing

Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
3 to 4 tablespoons of the liquid used to simmer the beet
Option: 2″ piece of piloncillo or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar melted into the simmering liquid
Option: Crushed chiles de arbol to taste


Simmer the beet until it is just soft. Save the simmering liquid. Slice the beet into thin discs about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Combine all the ingredients for the salad. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and toss the dressing with the salad.

“I typically arrange the beets and oranges to feature prominently when presenting the salad because the colors are beautiful together. 

Don’t toss the dressing with the salad until you are just about to serve it. Otherwise, the acidic dressing will wilt the arugula.”


Small Pot
Cutting Board
Salad Bowl
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Citrus Reamer