Overview

This is the first recipe in our Bushbuck Bites Christmas Series from Kaelah James aka Kaelah's Wild Kai Kitchen. This wild venison green salad with pomegranate dressing is bursting with fruity flavours and festive colours. We all know the summer Christmas in New Zealand and Australia lends itself to BBQs, and this is a great salad option to bring along to your family get-together. Wishing you all a very "wild" and happy Christmas.
  • The Backstory - Image 1

The Backstory

I made this recipe using the backstrap from the same deer that was used in the Wild Venison and Smoked Cheese Pie Recipe. This is my ultimate summer venison salad packed with leafy greens, grilled pears, feta cheese, pecans and pops of juicy pomegranate seeds and we tie it all together with zesty pomegranate dressing.

This salad is super healthy and packed with protein, good fats, iron and b vitamins and perfect for the long summer days or serving up at your Christmas gatherings. Serve this as a main or side for lunch or dinner.I find the flavours of venison pair so beautifully with rocket, but feel free to use spinach or a mesclun mix as I have done. 

Before we cook our venison we're going to marinade it for a few hours. This helps to both tenderise and add flavour to our meat. You can use this marinade for any cut of venison, the tougher the cut the longer you can leave it in the marinade to break down the meat. For the pomegranate dressing, simply pop all the ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake. Easy!

The Ingredients


Wild Venison Salad 

  • 1 Venison Backstrap
  • 1 Bag of rocket or leafy lettuce mix
  • 1/2 block of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, broken into pieces
  • 1 Pear, sliced
  • 1 Pomegranate

Venison Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Good squeeze of orange or lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Small handful rosemary or thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Pomegranate Dressing

  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon or orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt & pepper


The Recipe


  1. Add marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk together well.
  2. Cut backstrap in half and place into marinade, cover and place into fridge for 3-4 hours.
  3. Remove venison out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking so it can start to come to room temperature. Remove from marinade and pat dry.
  4. Heat a cast iron griddle or pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, generously salt and pepper the backstrap then drizzle with olive oil.
  5. When the pan is hot, add the venison and sear for a few minutes on each side. Cooking time will depend on the size of your backstrap. A good rule of thumb is to have an internal temp of about 46-51C.
  6. Remove from the pan and let the meat rest for 10 minutes and then slice across the grain.


  7. Add your pear slices to the grill and cook until they're lightly charred on each side, remove and set aside.
  8. To assemble your salad, lay down a bed of the greens, then layer with pear slices, feta cheese, pecans, venison slices and pomegranate seeds.
  9. Finish with a good drizzle of the dressing. Enjoy!