Surprise And Delight Your Family With The Perfect Winter Salad
Salads are such an iconic summer food that we often forget about just how good they can be for the winter season too. With the right ingredients and a touch of creative flair, it is entirely possible to make a salad that warms the body and soul through the coldest months.
We’ve gathered a collection of tips and tricks on crafting the perfect winter salad that the entire family will enjoy. We’ve also included a bunch of our favourite winter salad recipes to get you inspired.
Enjoy the rest of winter by turning the wholesome, fresh produce of each Good & Fugly box into some inspired winter salad flavours!
Salad? For Winter!?
When you’re thinking about comfort food for the colder months of Winter, you might not necessarily think “salad.” But when so much winter comfort food is so heavy and overloaded with protein, the right kind of salad can actually hit the spot beautifully, as a light, wholesome, and fresh assortment of flavours that work while being rugged up and cozy.
Prepare to discover flavours and approaches to salads that you may have never discovered otherwise!
Step-by-Step: How To Prepare A Warming Winter Salad
There are a couple of useful steps to keep in mind when preparing a salad for a winter’s meal. These steps will help you draw out a depth of flavour that will warm you from head to toe:
- Choose Seasonal Ingredients: Embrace the winter produce that's available during this time of the year. Look for ingredients like kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, beetroot, carrots, fennel, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), pomegranates, cranberries, apples, and nuts. The ingredients that you get in your Good & Fugly box are seasonal, and will be ideal to form the basis of your salad.
- Incorporate Warm Elements: While the salad base is generally cold, adding warm elements will make it more suitable for winter. Roasted vegetables, grilled proteins like chicken or tofu, and cooked grains like quinoa or farro are excellent choices. These additions add a comforting and hearty touch to the salad.
- Add The Right Amount Of Protein: You don’t want your winter salad to become dense and heavy, but protein does help to fill the belly, and that’s comforting in winter. Some good choices to have a non-heavy approach to protein include grilled chicken, turkey, prawns, salmon, boiled eggs, chickpeas, black beans, or even goat cheese or feta.
- Experiment with Dressings: A well-crafted dressing can elevate any salad. Experiment with vinaigrettes made from seasonal fruits like pomegranate or orange, or try a warm dressing using olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Consider adding herbs like rosemary or thyme to add a real winter flavour twist to your dressing.
- Incorporate Nuts and Seeds: Toasted nuts and seeds add crunch and texture to winter salads. Consider walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. Toast them slightly for a more intense and comforting flavour.
- Mix in Grains: Another good option for texture is grains, which also give the salad a hearty quality, making it every bit as good as a thick soup for warming the soul. Quinoa, bulgur, farro, barley, or wild rice work well and can be cooked in advance so they’re ready to go when assembling your salad.
- Include Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are at their peak during winter, and their bright, tangy flavours balance the richness of the other ingredients. Oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, or blood oranges can be segmented and tossed into the salad. A squeeze of lemon never goes astray, either.
- Prep Ahead of Time: Winter salads do take a little more work to ensure that they have that warming and hearty quality, so to make your salad prep more manageable, prepare some components in advance. Roast the vegetables, cook the grains, or make the dressing ahead of time. Store each component separately and assemble the salad just before serving.
- Serve in Warm Bowls or Plates: Finally, a clever trick is to serve the salad in a pre-warmed bowl or plate. This helps bring warmth through the salad itself, right down to the last bite.
Some Incredible Recipes To Get You Started
With all of that in mind, the best thing about warming winter salads is being creative and coming up with an amazing combination of flavours. There are no hard-and-fast rules about what you can craft, so get creative!
To get you started, here are some of our favourite winter salad recipes:
- Roasted Winter Veggie Delight: Create a vibrant and tasty salad by roasting an assortment of winter vegetables like colourful carrots, parsnips, butternut pumpkin, and Brussels sprouts. Toss them with a zesty lemon-herb dressing and serve over a bed of baby spinach or rocket. Top it off with toasted pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese for a luxurious touch.
- Citrus and Avocado Fiesta: Celebrate the winter citrus season by combining juicy orange and grapefruit segments with creamy avocado slices. Add a pop of colour and crunch with thinly sliced radishes and pomegranate arils. Drizzle a honey-lime vinaigrette over the top and garnish with fresh mint leaves for a refreshing twist.
- Warm Quinoa and Kale Medley: Sauté kale with garlic and red pepper flakes until wilted and slightly crispy. Mix it with cooked quinoa, caramelised onions, and roasted sweet potatoes. Add some cooked and shredded chicken or chickpeas for protein. Finish it with a warm maple-tahini dressing for a hearty and satisfying winter salad.
- Moroccan Spice Infusion: Create an exotic salad with Moroccan-inspired flavours. Toss together roasted carrots and chickpeas seasoned with cumin, coriander, and paprika. Mix in some cooked couscous, dried apricots, and toasted almonds. Drizzle a spiced orange-honey dressing over the top and sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves.
- Winter Waldorf Wonder: Give the classic Waldorf salad a winter makeover. Combine crisp apple slices, sliced fennel, and celery with toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds. For the dressing, mix Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and lemon juice. Serve on a bed of baby kale or radicchio for added depth.
- Savory-Sweet Spinach Delight: Sauté sliced red onions until caramelised and toss with fresh baby spinach leaves. Add roasted acorn squash, cooked farro, and crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle a warm balsamic-maple dressing over the salad, and if you're feeling adventurous, sprinkle some crispy bacon bits on top for extra indulgence.
- Asian-inspired Warm Winter Slaw: Shred a mix of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale to create a hearty slaw. Add toasted sesame seeds, mandarin or orange segments, and sliced spring onions. Prepare a warm ginger-soy dressing and toss it all together for a delightful Asian-inspired winter salad.
- Festive Beetroot and Goat Cheese Stack: Roast golden and red beetroot until tender and slice them into rounds. Layer the beetroot rounds with herbed goat cheese and toasted pecans. Drizzle with a warm honey-Dijon vinaigrette and garnish with microgreens or pea shoots for an elegant and colourful salad.
- Warm Cauliflower and Pomegranate Delight: Roast cauliflower florets seasoned with turmeric and cumin for a burst of flavour. Toss them with cooked quinoa, pomegranate arils, and chopped parsley. Drizzle with a warm tahini-lemon dressing for a hearty and nutritious winter salad.
- Cozy Lentil and Sausage Bowl: Cook French green lentils until tender and toss them with cooked and sliced chicken sausage, sautéed kale, and roasted sweet potatoes. Finish with a warm apple cider vinaigrette and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese.
Remember, the key to an exciting warm winter salad is to combine different textures, flavours, and seasonal ingredients. Feel free to mix and match these ideas or add your own creative twists to make your salads truly unique and enjoyable! Bon appétit!