Easy Ensalada de Nochebuena (Christmas Eve salad)

Plan now to make this Ensalada de Nochebuena recipe for Christmas Eve salad and you’ll brighten up your holiday table. Around December 21st, during the winter solstice when the days are short and darkness blankets the northern stretches of our vast continent, I’m grateful for a splash of colour. And this bright dish, that’s a tradition in Mexico, is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

oranges and pomegranates Photo by Israel Egío on Unsplash

Oranges and pomegranates are in season Photo by Israel Egío on Unsplash

Another reason to make Ensalada de Nochebuena is that December also happens to be pomegranate season. Packed with Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants, pomegranates have a burst-in-your-mouth flavour that’s as invigorating as an early morning walk on a white sand beach. But like any fruit that’s in season, it’s always a challenge to find enough ways to use them.

Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido Mexico

No shortage of sunshine here! Beautiful and bright Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido Mexico

One of my favourite dishes featuring pomegranate seeds is chiles en nogada, the stuffed chile poblano topped with creamy walnut sauce and pomegranates that’s practically a Mexican institution. In Puerto Escondido, my go-to place for pomegranate dishes is La Galera restaurant. Located on the upper level of the venerable Hotel Arco Iris overlooking Zicatela Beach, this family-run restaurant offers a wide selection of authentic Mexican dishes.

Hotel Arociris, a classic stay in Puerto Escondido Mexico

Hotel Arociris, a classic stay in Puerto Escondido Mexico

And it really shines at sunset when the moon rises above the dark horizon and you can enjoy the fresh breezes that gust through the balcony while tucking into food that’s as memorable as the view. There’s often live music and a small dance floor if you want to salsa the night away. But best of all you can often find traditional Mexican dishes such as Ensalada de Nochebuena.

Easy recipe for delicious Ensalada de Nochebuena - Christmas Eve salad from Mexico makes a bright side dish and can be served any time of the year

Try this Ensalada de Nochebuena any time of the year

Best of all, this pomegranate-laced salad is refreshingly different than anything else you’ll eat (such as tamales) during Navidad. It’s also incredibly easy and is packed with vitamins and minerals.  There’s no reason to make this Ensalada de Nochebuena recipe only during the Christmas holiday season. It makes a colourful side dish for New Year’s Eve, Valentines Day, weddings or anytime really. It’s so bright and cheerful it positively bursts with happiness.

An Easy Recipe for Ensalada de Nochebuena

4.67 from 3 votes
ensalda de nochebuena - Christmas eve salad from Mexico
Ensalada de Nochebuena (Christmas eve salad)
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
An easy, cheerful salad traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Mexico but good any time.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4
Author: Michele Peterson
  • 4 beets boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 2 oranges peeled and sliced
  • 1 large firm red apple Gala or Delicious, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pomegranate seeds only
  • 3 slices fresh pineapple cut into chunks
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 cup of jicama peeled and thinly sliced optional
  • 1/2 cup pepitoria pumpkin seeds toasted in a skillet
  • 1 cup of mixed lettuce romaine or meslun
  • Salad dressing
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare all the fruit (except pomegranate) and chill separately
  2. Prepare jicama (peel and slice) if available
  3. Line a salad dish or plate with lettuce leaves
  4. Fill the bowl wth prepared fruit or arrange the chilled fruit on a plate
  5. Mix salad dressing in a glass jar, shake and drizzle over fruit
  6. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and toasted pepitoria
  7. Squeeze the juice of a lime over top



For more on foods to eat and things to do in Puerto Escondido, read our Essential Puerto Escondido Travel Guide for information on restaurants, hotels, beaches, things to do, day trips and more in Puerto Escondido. Or go directly to these posts:

Salsa Verde (Green Tomatillo salsa) by The Mexykan 

Healthy Holiday Ponche (fruit punch) from Guatemala 

Hot Rum and Bourbon Toddy 

9 Tips for a Perfect Romantic Getaway in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Day Trip to Untouched Mexico

Beginner’s Guide to Puerto Escondido Beaches

8 Weird Foods to Try in Puerto Escondido

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Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 7 comments
  • Shelley

    Mmmm the Ensalada de Nochebuena looks so colourful and delicious. I think I’ll try this for New Years!

  • Yasha Langford

    Looks amazing! But I’m not in the right place for all the ingredients at the moment…

  • Donna Janke

    The Ensalada de Nochebuena looks and sounds delicious. I don’t know how easily I can find pomegranate or pomegranate seeds, but I would like to try making this salad,

  • Irene S. Levine

    The name of the salad alone won me over! What great color!

  • Donna Meyer

    This looks delicious and since I live in Mexico (San Miguel de Allende) I have easy access to all the ingredients. I’ve been looking for a good lunch recipe to serve for a workshop I’m teaching soon that will include vegetarians and vegans. I think I just found it! Thanks Michelle!

  • The GypsyNesters

    Looks really good, and would really hold the winter chill at bay up north. Have to give it a try.

  • Sue Reddel

    This beautiful salad also looks like a perfect New Years Day meal. Lots of healthy and tasty fruits can’t wait to try it.

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