Year after year, menus in homes and restaurants switch from light to hearty in the blink of an eye when cold weather arrives. Winter makes us all think about hot soups and greasy foods, but that isn’t the only way to go. Whether you’ve grown tired of the “standard” cold days’ meals or want to bring something unexpected to the table, a salad can fit the bill. You may think salads sound summery, but just wait until you’ve had a bite of these tasty winter salads.
1. GRILLED CABBAGE CAESAR SALAD
Caesar salad is one of the top contenders whenever salad is involved, but you can easily add a winter twist to the goodness with grilled cabbage. Simply split two small heads of savoy cabbage into halves, sprinkle with salt and olive oil, then bake for around half an hour. When done, move the cabbage to a skillet and cook it until crispy. Cut the leaves as fine or rough as you want and mix everything with the other chicken Caesar salad ingredients – grilled and sliced chicken breast, garlicy croutons, chopped bacon, some ready-made Caesar sauce, all topped with shavings of parmesan. Serve warm for a powerful winter lift-up.
2. ROAST PARSNIP AND RED ONION SALAD
A true blend of winter flavours, this roast parsnip, and red onion salad is delicious on its own or as a side for your Sunday roast. Mix the sweet roast roots with caramelised red onions (chop them with the Nicer Dicer if you want to save some time), orange slices, roast walnuts, and chopped radicchio. Season everything with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you’ve got one of the most flavourful winter salads.
3. CHORIZO AND CARAMELISED APPLE SALAD
If you like radicchio, this chorizo and caramelised apple salad is another one you should try this winter. The chorizo is fried in butter until it’s lightly golden, while the apples are caramelised with maple syrup. Add some toasted walnuts for texture and finely chopped radicchio. A few shavings of parmesan cheese complete the burst of flavours – this salad is so tasty that you’d probably want to invest in good containers and save some for later.
4. ROAST VEGGIES AND GOAT’S CHEESE SALAD
One of the simplest winter salads you can make, this roast veggies and goat cheese salad takes under half an hour to make and is beefed up with nutrients. Root vegetables work best – think of carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Roast them in the oven sprinkled with sea salt flakes and olive oil, let them cool a bit, and mix everything with goat’s cheese and chopped almonds.
5. SMOKED SALMON NICOISE SALAD
A fresh Nicoise salad is a nice choice on hot summer days, but you can twist it up and make it a perfect winter salad with some smoked salmon. All you have to do is swap the tuna with salmon, preferably hot-smoked. The fish will add a heartier touch and some healthy Omega 3.
6. GRILLED SQUID, FENNEL, AND CITRUS SALAD
Another option that can satisfy seafood enthusiasts, this grilled squid, fennel, and citrus salad has a Mediterranean allure and is truly delicious. The secret is to chop the raw fennel as thin as possible – using a julienne slicer instead of the knife could make a difference in this case. Mix it with orange slices and grilled squid rings, then season with salt flakes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
7. APPLE AND BABY SPINACH SALAD
Making this salad is as easy as pie, but the flavour will impress everyone at the dinner table. Sauté baby spinach leaves with a dash of salt and olive oil. In a separate pan, caramelise a handful of cashew nuts with maple syrup and black sesame seeds. Slice the apples and add them to the pan, then stir everything. Mix them all with the cooked spinach, and you’re ready to go.
8. ROAST BEEF AND PARSNIP SALAD
Do you need an original idea for the Sunday roast leftovers? Try this roast beef and parsnip salad. Turn the beef into flakes and sprinkle it on a salad made from roast parsnip, walnuts, and red chicory. A splash of apple vinegar and olive oil will enhance the taste and make it feel like a Michelin-starred meal.
9. ROCKET, PINE NUT, AND PECORINO SALAD
All hard Italian cheese works wonders with rocket, but pecorino cheese is hard to beat and perfect for the winter. Mix it with caramelised pear, roasted pine nuts, and fresh rocket. Best served with bruschetta or toast, this salad is simple, easy to make, and delicious.
10. CHICKEN AND AUBERGINE SALAD
Aubergine cubes stir-fried with olive oil and sea salt flakes and roast chicken are a winning combination of flavours. Mix the two with your favourite leafy greens – anything from watercress to baby spinach works. Add a few crushed basil leaves, mint, and oregano, and dot your salad with ricotta cheese before serving.
11. ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD
Roasted cauliflower works well with loads of other ingredients, allowing you to create the perfect salad based on your tastes. If you don’t mind meat, you can mix it with roast chicken or beef and a handful of leafy greens. For a vegetarian variant, mix the cauliflower with parmesan or pecorino cheese, pine nuts, and caramelised figs. And if you want to go completely vegan, add some capers, olives, and roast cabbage. No matter your choice, the roast cauliflower salad is equally delicious served warm or at room temperature.
12. ROASTED SQUASH AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM SALAD
Another simple salad to delight your palate, this one is made from roasted squash baked in the oven with salt flakes and olive oil and sautéed Portobello mushrooms with garlic and parsley. Dice and mix everything or, for a creative twist, turn the squash into squash spaghetti before cooking it. Not only will it look like an executive chef made it, but it could also trick the kids into eating healthy vegetables willingly.
Switching up your meals to some winter-ready salads will help add some variety to your meals, plus help get in some of your five-a-day. Which salads will you be trying?
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash