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Fern's Salad - A Nod to Family & Friendship

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Hi, it’s Jen! This recipe is near and dear our hearts - "our" being my sister Tanya's and mine. It's been passed down to us from my Grandma Vivian’s best friend (and fellow Norwegian), Fern Kelly, who would bring it to potlucks my grandparents hosted at their home and orchard in Monitor, WA near Wenatchee.

Grandma Vivian had an especially high level of goodness in her being, and Fern was a match to her. They were like twins in their cuteness! Fern had a high level of interest in other people, maybe especially our family. It seemed that we all had an extra special connection with her, and her with us. Although Vivian and Fern are no longer with us, we think of them often. They and their friendship live on in this dish - which many of us in the family still bring to potlucks, and also make for our families… not only because it’s a delicious vegetable dish, but because our kids love it!

This crunchy, cruciferous salad recipe is a crowd pleaser, packs well, and lasts! The base includes broccoli, cauliflower and baby peas with a tangy sweet dressing and contrasting smokey saltiness of bacon and/or smokehouse almonds. Unlike a typical green salad that goes all wilty/soggy next day, this one keeps the crunch and doesn’t get too watery, so it’s great to have in the fridge all week for a quick and easy veggie hit when you need it!

Fern’s Salad

Recipe by Fern Kelly, adapted by Tanya Miller

Serves: 10-12

Suggested pairing: Freyja, Chardonnay or Rosé


For salad:

  • One head cauliflower

  • Equal parts broccoli

  • 2-4 stalks celery

  • 1-2 c frozen petite peas, thawed

  • ½-¾ c peanuts (original recipe) or smokehouse almonds (our spin), chopped

  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

  • Dressing (see below)

  • Optional: Approx ½ lb bacon

For dressing (make in advance for best flavor):

  • 1 c Miracle Whip salad dressing (we do not recommend substituting with mayo)

  • ¼ c sugar, to taste

  • ¼ c parmesan, shredded

  • ~ 1 Tbsp lemon juice, to taste

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 Tbsp white onion, grated


  1. Mix all dressing ingredients together and chill. Dressing can be made a day ahead for best flavor.

  2. If using, slice bacon into lardons and cook until fairly crispy over medium heat. Set aside to cool.

  3. Finely chop cauliflower, broccoli and celery. (Or, you can use a food processor if chopping isn't your thing and you don’t mind the outcome looking a little messy. Still tastes good!) Chop nuts.

  4. When ready to assemble the salad, add all ingredients to a large bowl - except bacon and nuts - and mix thoroughly. Chill.

  5. Add bacon and/or nuts right before serving so they stay crunchy! We like to stir most in and leave a little out for garnish on top.

  6. Serve and enjoy with a glass of Freyja, Chardonnay or Rosé!

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