Who says you can’t enjoy salad in the winter? I’m not talking about lettuce, a few fresh vegetables, and a lackluster vinaigrette. I’m referring to a salad that contains robust ingredients that reflect the change of the season. With a decline in temperature comes increased cravings for warm, rich, and indulgent meals. Therefore, a winter salad is one that provides the same level of comfort and satiety as heavier winter foods. And if you know me, you know that I love to fill my salads with a variety of ingredients that are both hearty and nourishing.
The secret to creating the perfect winter salad is to include produce that naturally grows and ripens during the cooler months. These include citrus, squash, cruciferous vegetables (like kale and cauliflower), root vegetables, and dark leafy greens. But, a well-balanced salad is much more than greenery and an assortment of vegetables. My favorite way to make my winter salads more nutrient-dense is to toss in protein-and-fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
If you’ve been searching for ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your winter meals without compromising comfort or taste, here are 3 hearty winter salads that you can enjoy all season long:
1. Warm Kale & Quinoa Salad
Reminiscent of the deep winter green of an evergreen tree, this Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad has become a classic in my home! It is as deep in flavor as it is in color. With notes of warming sage, soothing honey, and pungent red pepper flakes, each forkful is filled with a cascade of complex flavors and aromas. But, the true stars of the salad are the cruciferous vegetables: green cabbage and kale! Roasted to perfection, these cancer-fighting leafy greens are high in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as antioxidant-rich carotenoids. Topped with gluten-free, protein-packed quinoa, this winter salad is a fabulous addition to any winter meal.
5 stalks of kale
1 small head of green cabbage
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 small red onion
2 sage sprigs
1/4 cup honey
2 T water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Olive oil as needed
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cook your quinoa per package instructions, with a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.
Remove the core from the cabbage, then thinly slice the cabbage and kale. Spread them out evenly on separate baking sheets, one for cabbage, one for the kale.
Drizzle both the kale and cabbage with avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the cabbage at 450F for 15-20 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp. For the last 5-7 minutes of baking, add in the kale to bake. Remove both vegetables from the oven and turn the oven down to 375°F.
Add the quinoa to a baking sheet and cover with olive oil and red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste and toss. Roast this for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through until the quinoa is slightly golden and lightly crisp.
While the quinoa is baking, make the agrodolce dressing. Thinly slice the red onion and place it in a bowl. Whisk together the honey and water. Put a pan or small pot on medium heat and add a small splash of oil. Add in the sage leaves and pour in the honey mixture, it should fizz slightly, and stir until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Stir again and let the mixture simmer slightly for 1-2 minutes. Remove the sage and pour this over the red onion. Stir to combine.
Toss together the kale, cabbage and red onion agrodolce. When the quinoa is out of the oven, sprinkle it liberally on top of the salad and serve warm! Enjoy!
2. Autumn Delicata Squash Salad
This is definitely a salad that satisfies! This salad is so versatile – you can add, drop, or swap any of the ingredients to suit your palate. One thing’s for sure though… this salad will not leave you feeling hungry! This is thanks to the chickpeas and squash which weigh the salad down and provide beautiful benefits! In addition to a fiber boost, this salad has mint and pomegranate seeds to add some color to your winter. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this salad will leave you feeling both satiated and refreshed.
1 delicata squash
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup pickled shallots (optional)
1 T of za’atar seasoning
1 cup pomegranate seeds
6 T pumpkin seeds, roasted
1/4 cup of mint, chopped
2 head of red leaf lettuce
2 cups radicchio, sliced
Creamy Harissa Dressing
1/4 cup cashew yogurt
Zest of one lemon
3/4 tsp harissa paste
2 T of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 T pomegranate molasse
3/4 T maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut ends off the delicata squash to create two flat edges. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
Cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices, keeping the size of the slices consistent. Toss with olive oil on both sides of each slice until coated with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes. Flip each slice over and roast for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
In a separate sheet pan add your pumpkin seeds and roast until golden brown. Then drain and rinse your chickpeas. Add the za’atar seasoning and roast for 8-12 minutes until crispy. Season to taste and set aside.
In a separate bowl add the cashew yogurt, lemon zest and juice, harissa, garlic, molasses, and maple syrup. Whisk together and season to taste.
Assemble your salad in this order: red leaf, radicchio, za’atar chickpeas, roasted delicata squash, pomegranate seeds, mint, and top with pumpkin seeds. Serve with dressing on the side. Enjoy!
3. Pumfu Quinoa Beet Salad
This isn’t your typical beet salad. This version incorporates one of my all-time favorite ingredients: pumfu! For those who haven’t tried it yet, pumfu is pumpkin tofu feta, and it’s out-of-this-world delicious. It contains prebiotic compounds that help to feed your beneficial gut microbes, so it tastes good and helps to heal your gut at the same time. This Pumfu Beet Salad is super satiating, and the contrasting flavors make me crave it constantly. I hope you love it as much as I do!
1 large red beet
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups Brodo Bone Broth
1 package of pumfu
1 T sunflower seeds
1 T pumpkin seeds
1 T coconut aminos
2 T olive oil
3/4 cup spinach
3/4 cup arugula
Miso Lemon Dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T miso
1/2 T tahini
1/2 T maple syrup
Start by chopping your beets into small bites. In a medium pot add the beets, quinoa, and bone broth. Cook until the quinoa is soft and the beets are tender. While the quinoa/beets mixture is cooking start working on your pumfu.
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and add your pumfu, coconut aminos, and olive oil. Bake in your convection oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
While the pumfu is baking, start assembling your salad. Make sure to massage your kale before chopping. Roughly chop your arugula and kale then set to the side. Now you can start assembling your dressing. Add your lemon, miso, apple cider vinegar, tahini, and maple syrup to a bowl. Mix together until a dressing forms and salt to taste.
Start assembling your bowl. Add your kale and arugula as the base, then top with the beet/quinoa mixture, pumfu, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and avocado. Finish off with some salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Speaking of hearty winter salads, if you sign up for my S.O.U.P cleanse, you can have flavorful salads, along with other soups, salads, tonics, and supplements delivered right to your doorstep! Make getting your daily servings of seasonal produce easy by signing up here.