This Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad, with a light dressing, is a refreshing potluck, picnic, or summer holiday salad to bring to a party!

When we heard friends were coming from out of town, we quickly got a date on the calendar to have them over for dinner. On the menu, this Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad!

We had a few other awesome friends join us as well, and it turned into the perfect evening.

I know things rarely go perfect when you’re entertaining, but this night was magical. When you have a good combination of food, people, great weather, good music, and a relaxed setting–this, to me, is perfection!

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

In the summertime, I like to forget all about associations that come with a sit-down dinner. We’re rather … laid back. I was laughing at myself, because when the guests arrived, I didn’t have the table set.

Summer parties tend to be more relaxed and casual, but of course there still needs to be order!

Timing is essential.

This time around, I served everything inside the cool house–buffet style at the kitchen counter. I set out the white dinner plates, arranged the food, and we all dug in!

I love it when guests serve themselves, because that means there is no running back and forth for me. I get to actually sit down and enjoy our guests, rather than worrying about the next course.

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

There is timing involved in getting the food all prepared at the same time, when you serve family or buffet style. For this recipe, bake the salmon for 12 minutes. How easy is that?

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

Ultimate goal.

My ultimate goal: To be a fully present at the table. Because I look forward to connecting with our friends all day when I’m getting ready for dinner guests. So I don’t want to rob myself of one minute away from the table!

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

This night went on until almost midnight. It was the essence of real life entertaining, sharing life with people we care deeply enough to invite into our home!

Summer Menu:

Watermelon Salsa and pita chips

Pistachio Lime Baked Salmon

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

Farmer’s Red Potato Salad

Crunchy Bread

Chocolate Pudding Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream (not posted on RE yet)

What do you love most about laid back summer entertaining?

Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad
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Orange Cranberry Summer Slaw Salad

Toast almonds by laying on a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute, turning once. Or, toast the sliced almonds under low broil for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. You can also make your own cabbage mix, with green and purple cabbage with a tiny bit of carrots.

Ingredients

  • 2 small bags of coleslaw mix, about 12 cups
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries, I used Orange Cranberries from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup sesame sticks, found in the bulk aisle at grocery store
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  • Layer the cabbage in a large bowl with almonds, cranberries, red onion, sesame seeds, sesame sticks, and fresh cilantro.
  • Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, and sesame oil in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth.
  • Lightly pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss; serve.
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