In the summer we want our salads to be fresh, crunchy, and brimming with seasonal produce. But in the winter, all that inspiring produce is scarce, not to mention expensive. On top of that, we're craving foods that are hearty and satisfying. But that doesn't mean you have to braise everything for three months straight! Read on for four salad strategies that will get you through winter, plus some seriously delicious recipes.
Stick to sturdy greens. There's a reason kale salads are sweeping restaurant menus across the country: The sturdy leaves are in season when tender lettuces like watercress and romaine are not at their peak, yet they're still sweet enough to eat raw. Escarole, a pleasantly bitter, crunchy green is another one that can grow through cooler months and is great in salads. TRY IT: Kale Salad with Chicken and Sweet Potato, Escarole Salad with Crispy Shallots and Apple Vinaigrette
Shred or shave. Root vegetables like parsnips, beets, and carrots are actually at their sweetest when they've been grown in cold weather, so sometimes they don't even need to be cooked -- just shave them with a vegetable peeler or shred them with a julienne peeler, food processor, or mad knife skills. TRY IT: Beet and Carrot Slaw, Shredded Carrot Salad, Shaved Parsnip Salad with Grapefruit
Try a smart sautee. Some seasonal greens, like Swiss chard, beet greens, and some kale, benefit from a quick turn in a hot pan with a little oil and other flavorings. Watch how a big pile of leaves turns into something the size of your palm, and think about how many greens you're getting! TRY IT: Spicy Sauteed Kale with Lemon, Sauteed Swiss Chard with Orange, Beet Greens with Bacon
Turn up the heat. A big tray of fragrant, caramelized roasted vegetables can go head-to-head with a seasonal tomato salad any day! Use roast veggies as the starting point of a salad, or as a sweet accent on top of bitter greens or mixed into grains. TRY IT: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Poached Eggs, Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad, Barley Salad with Squash and Broccoli
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our WINTER SALAD recipe board on Pinterest!