If you're looking for a fun, healthy, super delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day or to make any day of the year a celebration, be sure to put this Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad on the menu. It will be a hit with everyone, Irish or not!
After traveling to Ireland several summers ago and experiencing fresh, fabulous salads at every café, pub and restaurant (both casual and fancy) that we had the pleasure of dining at, I thought it would be fun to come up with a salad to honor the national colors of the beautiful Emerald Isle. I'm pleased to introduce our delicious Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad.
While we have a fairly good selection of Irish recipes, many of them are desserts. And, while there's nothing wrong with a delicious dessert, I thought it would be fun to go in a different direction this time. I saw an idea online for an Irish Flag Salad and, although this version is very different, loved the idea of incorporating the patriotic Irish colors into a seasonal salad. So cheers to the green, orange and white!
Do you know much about the Irish flag or what the green, white and orange mean? I didn't until I did a bit of research. Here's, in a nutshell, what I learned:
- The Irish flag was flown publicly for the first time on March 7, 1848, during that year's Young Irelander Rebellion in Waterford City at the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club.
- A name given to the Irish flag is The Tricolor (or Tricolour in Ireland).
- It was first flown by Thomas Francis Meagher, who, at the time was a leader of the Young Irelander movement. Meagher would later become a Brigadier General and fight for the Union Army during the American Civil War.
- The tricolor Irish flag was designed by a group of French women who supported the cause.
- The green stripe represents the Irish Roman Catholics, the orange, Ireland’s Protestants who are sometimes called "Orangemen (this goes back to their loyalty to King William III of England (aka William of Orange). The white stripe in the center represents the hoped-for peace between the two groups (when the Irish tricolor flag was first flown, the country was deeply divided).
- The flag is always flown with the green stripe closest to the flagpole. Each band must be exactly the same size and the flag should be twice as wide as it is high.
Fresh, fun, fabulous, flexible
But you don't have to be Irish or even know anything about the Irish flag to enjoy this Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad. It's light, fresh, healthy and super delicious. The greens can be varied. I've made it with baby spinach as well as the butter lettuce and green leaf lettuce that's shown in the pictures. Arugula would also be delicious as would baby kale, watercress or chopped Romaine. My suggestion is to choose whatever looks freshest and prettiest at your market or grocery store.
Avocado slices are delicious in this salad, add great texture and lots of great nutrition. They also are a perfect addition for the color scheme. Crunchy, buttery salted pistachios are the final nod to green.
For the "orange" component of this Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad, I used clementines, but I've also made it with oranges and seedless tangerines would work well. In the summer months, peaches would be a delicious substitution.
To symbolize the white stripe of the Irish flag, I used slivers of white onions and crumbled goat cheese. Thin slices of crisp, crunch jicama or Asian pear would also be delicious. If you're not a goat cheese fan, you could sub Feta or Ricotta Salata.
A perfect dressing
What's the dressing for this Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad? It's an old friend of mine that I've been making for years, this Honey White Balsamic Dressing. It's tangy, sweet, mellow and pairs perfectly with this salad. It's also easy, super easy, with 6 ingredients, including the salt and pepper. All you do is simply throw it in a jar, screw on the lid and shake, shake, shake. That's it.
It's one of those dressings you'll want to keep stocked in your fridge, as it goes well with just about any greens and anything else you have stashed in your produce bin.
So whether you're Irish, want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in a delicious, healthy unique way or just love a good salad, put this one on your must-make list! I'm hoping that you'll enjoy it as much as we have! Sláinte!
Café Tips for making this Irish Flag Clementine Cucumber Salad
- This salad can be prepped ahead:
- Make the dressing 4-5 days in advance and store in the refrigerator in an airtight jar.
- Prep the greens and tear it into bite-size pieces, if needed (unless you're using something like arugula or baby spinach). Place it in a large serving bowl or platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Slice the onions and cucumbers. Store in separate zippered bags in the refrigerator.
- Peel, halve and slice the clementines and drizzle with a small amount of the Honey White Balsamic Dressing. Store in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator.
- Peel, pit and slice the avocados just before serving. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing.
- Combine all the ingredients attractively in the bowl or platter with the greens, drizzle with the dressing and then garnish with pistachios. Serve with extra dressing at the table.
- This salad calls for salted, roasted pistachios. You can find these in the section of the grocery store where other nuts are stocked. Trader Joe's also carries them for a reasonable price. I had subbed salted roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for the pistachios with delicious results.
- If you use Romaine, artisan or hearty leaf lettuce, this salad makes great leftovers. Just leave out the avocados or add them right before serving.
- Goat cheese can be difficult to crumble because it's quite soft. If you put it in the freezer for 20 minutes, it will firm up a bit and makes crumbling easier. You can also purchase crumbled goat cheese at larger grocery stores, usually in the specialty cheese area.
- There are lots of substitution possibilities with this salad. Check out the post above for ideas and suggestions.
Thought for the day:
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy any of these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 10 cups clean greens Whatever looks freshest at the market (spinach, arugula, watercress, chopped Romaine, torn leaf lettuce, spring greens, mesclun mix…)
- 6 medium clementines peeled, halved and cut in ¼-inch slices
- 2-3 medium-size mini cucumbers sliced thin
- 1 medium ripe avocado cored halved, peeled and sliced into one-quarter-inch slices
- ¼ medium white onion thinly sliced vertically
- ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ⅓ cup salted, roasted pistachios shelled
- Honey White Balsamic Dressing
Place the greens in a large bowl or on a large serving platter. Top with clementines, sliced cucumbers, white onion slices and avocado slices.
Drizzle lightly with 2-3 tablespoons of the Honey White Balsamic Dressing and toss gently. Top with goat cheese, pistachios and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Nutritional Information does not include the Honey White Balsamic Dressing. See that post for its nutritional data.