In Spanish Noche Buena means “Good Night” and it often refers to the night of Christmas Eve. It also refers to the poinsettia, a small tree native to Mexico which leaves turn red, pink or yellow during this season. Noche Buena is a very special night in Mexican culture. Entire families gather together for the most important meal of the year, la cena de Noche Buena, at midnight.
Food plays a very important part in Christmas, like in any other Mexican celebration. Some classic dinners are turkey, Norwegian cod, romeritos, baked ham and many others depending on the region of the country. One of my most deliciuos memories of this time of the year is Noche Buena salad. This sweet salad combines some of the produce that is easily found this time of the year.
It had been a long time since I had this salad so I had to call my mom for the recipe. Some people like to add other ingredients, but I made a simple version with the basic ingredients: beets, jicama, oranges, peanuts and romaine lettuce. The preparation is very simple. First boil sliced beets with sugar in plenty of water. For 6 beets I used 6 cups of water and 3/4 cup of sugar. Save the water where you boiled the beets. Let the beets cool down and serve cold with slices of jicama, orange, peanuts and lettuce. Pour the beet water over the salad, this is what gives this salad the special flavor. That’s it. A colorful and delicious salad perfect for your Christmas dinner.
¡Buen provecho and best wishes from my family to yours!