Winter salads: Warm or cold, lettuce-filled or lettuce-free, these aren't July's salads

Adding seasonal ingredients elevates any cold-weather salad

Winter salads don't have to look anything like their summer counterparts. This salad is cooked but served cold and features something seasonal — butternut squash — with one of the heartier greens — kale.

Winter salads don't have to look anything like their summer counterparts. This salad is cooked but served cold and features something seasonal — butternut squash — with one of the heartier greens — kale.

We’re still months — months! — away from the crisp, fresh, early greens of spring. Depressing, huh?

But if you’ve had a hankering for salad, never fear. There is such a thing as winter salad. In fact, there are several examples of ways to enjoy salad in the winter without feeling like everything you’re eating is coming from the Southern Hemisphere — no offense to Chile and New Zealand, of course.

What makes a winter salad? Well, in our humble estimation, a winter salad can be a number of different things alone or in combination:

  • l It can be warm
  • l It can be made with seasonal ingredients
  • l It can be hearty
  • l It can be all of the above!

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Serve this warm potato salad is topped with goat cheese and pine nuts and can be served alone or on a bed of greens like romaine or baby spinach.

Because we’re far from the days of crisp greens and snappy toppings, many of our chosen recipes have a cooked or wilted element to them. And many are twists on traditional hearty salads like potato and pasta (No, those salads aren’t just for summer barbecues!). But what they have in common is that they aren’t what you’d typically eat in July.

Sound good? We thought so. So, behold, salads you can sink your teeth into, even if they’re still chattering from brisk winter air.

Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Sherry Vinaigrette

1/2 cup dried red currants

1/2 cup port wine

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

1 small red onion, sliced thin

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6-ounce log of fresh goat cheese

2 medium heads escarole, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 small head frisée, cored and chopped into small pieces

1/2 small head radicchio, cored and rough chopped

3 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, stemmed

1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1 cup peanut oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cover the currants with the port and let sit overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the bulb end of the squash; reserve for another use. Peel the cylinder end and dice into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine the squash, red onion, olive oil and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine thoroughly. Spread the squash and onions on an oiled sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until the squash is just cooked through and the squash and onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the goat cheese into 6 rounds and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes.

To make the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, and shallots in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plating: Combine the salad greens in a non-reactive mixing bowl; toss with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on six plates. Top each plate of greens with the still-warm squash and onions. Drain the raisins and sprinkle them, the toasted walnuts, and the bacon around the plate. Crown each serving with a round of warmed goat cheese. Drizzle a few teaspoons of the remaining vinaigrette around each plate and serve.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

Cannellini Bean and Roasted Garlic Salad

1 medium head of garlic

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 can (19 ounces) cannellini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 bag (16 ounces) Italian-style mixed salad greens

1/2 cup jarred whole roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 1/2 inch off the tip end of head of garlic. On aluminum foil, arrange garlic cut-side up, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Loosely wrap in foil to seal. Bake 50 minutes or until cloves are softened and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze 4 cloves out from head and chop. In small bowl, with wire whisk, beat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Stir in chopped garlic and beans. In large bowl, toss salad greens with bean mixture. Garnish with roasted red peppers. Serve remaining roasted garlic as a spread on bread.

— Recipe from www.villabertolli.com.

Jicama and Asian Pear Salad

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

2 cups julienne-sliced jicama

2 cored and chopped Asian pears

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup white wine vinaigrette

1/4 cup apple cider or juice (for dressing)

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder or ground allspice

In a bowl, toss the shredded lettuce, jicama, Asian pears and golden raisins until combined. For dressing, whisk together the salad dressing, apple cider or juice and five-spice powder or allspice until well mixed. Drizzle over salad and toss well. Serve immediately.

— Recipe from Produce for Better Health.

Horseradish Dill Potato Salad

1 pound baby white potatoes

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon grated horseradish

2 tablespoons dill minced

1 large carrot

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

In a microwave-safe bowl combine the potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces, and the water and microwave the potatoes, covered with microwave-safe plastic wrap, at high power (100 percent) for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are tender. Let the potatoes stand, covered, for 3 minutes, drain them, and let them cool completely. In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, horseradish, dill and salt and pepper to taste, add the carrot, onion and potatoes, and toss the salad until it is combined well.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

Mexican Chicken Salad

Dressing

1 ripe avocado, quartered pitted and peeled

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 large garlic finely chopped

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Salad

4 cups chicken, cooked and coarsely shredded

1 pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick matchsticks

3 scallions finely, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon serrano chiles, finely chopped

Blend dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Toss salad ingredients with dressing in a large bowl until combined well. Serve.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

Persimmon and Apple Salad

1 tablespoon walnut pieces, toasted

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 sweet variety apples, rinsed, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons (the flat kind), rinsed, stemmed and thinly sliced lengthwise

In a bowl, combine orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add apples, persimmons, and toasted walnuts and mix to coat.

— Recipe from www.cdc.gov.

Pressed Bok Choy Salad

Salad

1 head bok choy large

1/2 head red cabbage

2 cups daikon or red radish

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

Dressing

2 tablespoons tamari

2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sweet rice vinegar (Mirin)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Wash each vegetable. Cut the bok choy and red cabbage thinly on the diagonal. Cut the daikon in julienne strips, or the red radish in thin rounds. Peel, seed and slice the cucumber.

In a large stainless steel bowl, place vegetables and add sea salt. With your hands, mix and toss the vegetables so that the salt is evenly distributed.

Vegetables will start to glisten as the salt extracts the water from the vegetables. This process takes about 20 minutes. Strain the excess water from the bowl. The vegetables will be crunchy.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

1 jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package (16 ounces) radiatore or spiral pasta, cooked and drained

3 medium red, yellow and/or green bell peppers, chopped

1/4 cup pitted oil-cured olives, sliced

1 cup diced mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

For dressing: blend sauce, olive oil, vinegars, parsley, basil, salt and black pepper in small bowl; set aside.

Combine pasta, bell peppers, olives, cheese and capers in large bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

— Recipe from www.villabertolli.com.

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

2 bunches kale (about 1 pound total), tough stems and ribs stripped out, leaves sliced

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 red onion, sliced

4 pitted dates, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Put kale and 1/2 cup vegetable broth in a large pot and place over medium heat. Cook, covered, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add squash and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until kale and squash are tender but not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup broth, onion, dates and vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, until onion is very tender and liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Cool, toss with kale and butternut squash and serve room temperature or chilled.

— Recipe from www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

Warm Goat Cheese and Potato Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts

1 1/2 pound yellow potatoes

10 ounces goat cheese

1 bunch chives

3 ounces pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup salad oil (any vegetable oil you have on hand, or more olive oil)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Boil the potatoes (skin on) in water with a pinch of salt (15-20 min).

Dressing: Put the mustard, vinegar, oils, plus a pinch of salt and pepper in a salad bowl.

Salad: Peel and dice the cooked potatoes. Mix them with 3/4 of the dressing and the chopped chives. Put completed potato salad in a form (Any kind of dish that can go in the oven). Cover the potatoes with goat cheese and put under a broiler for 5 minutes.

Roast pine nuts in oven and scatter them on top before serving.

Toss remainder of dressing with lettuce and serve with potato salad.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

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