It may sound like an oxymoron, but winter salads can be fresh and full of flavor and texture. Artfully assembled with winter’s best produce, pantry items, and a few proteins, these brightly flavored salads are a welcome alternative to the heavy stews and casseroles so in favor at this time of year.
While not quite as abundant as other seasons’ bounty, winter produce offers a welcome opportunity to savor vegetables and fruit not often included in the salad mix. Turnips, winter squash, and Brussels sprouts make delicious and unexpected appearances. Salad bowl staples such as decorative Lolla Rosa lettuce, spicy radicchio and dandelion greens, and hearty kale actually flourish in cold months. And citrus, watermelon radishes, pears, and pomegranates are at their peak and the perfect addition to salads, whether chopped, tossed, or composed.
The key to enjoying a salad in winter is to add a warming cooked element to the chilled mix. By crowning the salad with fresh-from-the-oven roasted chicken, pan-seared salmon, or sizzling goat cheese, you’ll have a cozy, filling meal. You can always pair your favorite bowl of steaming soup with a warm salad of tender Brussels sprout leaves tossed with a savory Caesar dressing, or match the bold blend of chopped kale, radicchio, nuts, and fruit with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Enjoyed as the main event or a hearty side, a salad in winter is as welcome as a warm slice of apple pie—and you’ll have room for it.