my winter salad must knows

my winter salad must knows

okay, here’s my pitch for winter salads. i know we all immediately think of hearty stews in winter, but sometimes you just want something zesty and bright and tangy with a satisfying crunch to break up all the drudgery of winter days. something to zing you awake. and a winter salad is just that, like a brilliantly sunny winter day when the sun almost makes you forget how cold it is. (almost)

plus a big winter salad is a great way to get dinner on the table, fast. and at the end of a long day full of arguments with my kids about coats, boots and gloves, a fast, easy, healthy dinner is music to my ears.

and of course, i have thoughts on winter salads. my must knows outlined below are meant to inspire you to get creative and have fun because the good (and the bad) news is that there’s always tomorrow night’s dinner for you to try again.

winter citrus and crunchy fruits are your bffs

the easiest way to make an amazing winter salad is to reach for citrus because citrus is in peak season during the cold winter months. which i think is nature’s way of saying, "i’m sorry but here, eat this amazing orange.”

citrus packs a bright, fresh, light bite into everything — including vinaigrettes. a big squeeze of a perfect orange into a homemade vinaigrette is going to be your new party trick. citrus can be a side kick in a salad like this or you can let it have main character energy like i did here.

i also consistently reach for crunchy fruit like pears and apples for an easy way to give texture, brightness and crispiness to any salad you’re assembling, like this.

an elevated but super easy citrus salad

say yes to a quick pickle

i find myself eating a lot of roasted veg in winter and to offset that heartiness i love giving a light, quick pickle to at least one veg in the bowl to help bring bright acidity to the heavier, heartier salads.

onion and shallots are usually what people think of first when you say pickled veg, but feel free to get creative and try pickling with cauliflower, radish or turnips. below i’ve outlined a quick pickled shallot recipe but you could easily swap in any veg of your choice.

quick pickled shallots

  • 1 large shallot

  • 1/3 cup red wine vin

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 tsp granulated sugar

  1. Slice the shallots and place in a bowl with the red wine vin, kosher salt and sugar. Mix well and keep to the side. Let is sit for at least 20 minutes before using.

now that you've got pickled shallots, make this.

let's clean out your pantry

you might have seen me recently have a pantry party on instagram here. ido is still looking for his collection of canned beans but that’s the price you pay for delicious winter salads.

but seriously, i bet you have everything you need for a winter salad in your pantry. and it will feel sooooo refreshing to clean it out (sorry ido). reach for all the legumes (and don’t be afraid to mix them like i did in the vid) to give you that kick of protein. pull out the canned veggies, roast them to perfection and top with any nut you can find for crunch and salt. voila!

this is truly a year round salad but i find it most satisfying to make during winter, like an early kick off to spring (pantry) cleaning.

a pantry roasted salad party

keep some things raw

not alllll veg must be roasted. some are best kept raw and shaved to make their flavor and crunchy texture spark. think fennel, brussels sprouts, beets, and broccoli. none of these need to be cooked. they are absolutely perfect shaved and eaten raw for the brightness and crunch we’re all craving.

plus it feels a little less like cooking when you’re not turning on a stove or an oven. its like a little cheat of a dinner when you’re just pulling out and assembling a big bowl of deliciousness thanks to a little addition of gruyere and hazelnut like this and you can find a shaved broccoli forward recipe here.

shaved brussels sprouts + gruyere + hazelnut = heaven

let the vinaigrette shine

again, the good and the bad news is that every night is another opportunity for you to experiment in the kitchen. but a very easy way to do that is with vinaigrettes, spices and condiments. same veg but different spices? whole different dinner. same greens but different vinaigrette? entirely different meal.

a shallot vinaigrette is one of my favorites but don’t sleep on that in-season citrus. the combo of vinegar, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and mustard all whisked with salt and pepper will liven up any winter salad you have on deck.

shallot vinaigrette makes everything POP