When the temperatures start dipping into the 30s and below, I dip into my repertoire of hearty, slow-cooked dishes to keep me and my kitchen toasty. Nothing makes you feel cozier on a cold day than an herb-crusted roast or thick stew—the flavor deepening over hours on the stovetop or in the oven, the aroma and warmth spreading through the whole house. Nevertheless, I was recently informed that I can't live on roast chicken and chili alone, so I guess it's time to reassess my eating habits. Or, at least, start balancing out those rib-stickers with a few salads.
Despite our popular conception of salads as summer dishes, winter produce can furnish all you need to make a beautiful and tasty salad. You've got your cold-weather greens, like endive and radicchio; your brassicas, like Brussels sprouts and kale; hardy root vegetables, like beets, potatoes, and carrots; and sweet and tangy citrus fruits in abundance. Plus, year-round staples, like grains and dried beans, can make your salad filling enough to be a meal. Below are 18 recipes for satisfying salads to keep you going strong until springtime.
Shredded Kale Salad With Pine Nuts, Currants, and Parmesan
If you want to be able to enjoy a salad no matter the weather, kale should be a constant on your grocery list: It grows through the winter, and its leaves are so robust that a kale salad will keep in the refrigerator for days, even when chopped and dressed. In this simple version that's great as a side, we toss the greens with pine nuts, then add a vinaigrette made with sweet currants and honey and shaved Parmesan.
Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad With Sumac Onions
Kale's tough leaves need to be tenderized before use, and there are several ways to do it. The least labor-intensive route: Toss them with olive oil and salt and let them sit for an hour. Once the kale has wilted a little, combine it with rinsed canned chickpeas and red onions marinated in tart sumac for a super-simple salad.
Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Don't have an hour to wait around for your kale to soften up? Speed up the process by massaging the leaves with olive oil instead. Here, we roast the chickpeas for a more intense nutty flavor and slightly crispy texture, toss them with the kale, then brighten up the salad with tons of fresh cilantro and mint and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. You can make this salad in advance and eat it for the next few days; it gets even better after sitting in the fridge.
Grilled Kale Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
If you're in a part of the country that sees unusually warm winters, this salad is a terrific excuse to fire up the grill in January. And if you've never tried grilled kale before, trust us when we tell you that you should. The fire will crisp up the leaves just a bit and infuse them with great smoky flavor; to deepen the smokiness, pair the grilled kale with a bacon vinaigrette, balanced out with tangy apple cider vinegar and sweet shallot.
Warm Winter Vegetable Salad With Ricotta and Herbs
This one rounds up a cornucopia of winter's bounty: curly kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and parsnips, all cooked together in a single pot or skillet. Cool ricotta complements the warm vegetables, while pistachios or pumpkin seeds lend a crunchy contrast.
Whole-Grain Spelt Salad With Leeks and Marinated Mushrooms
Grain salads—especially vegan ones—get a bad rap for being boring health food. But in reality, a well-composed grain salad can be incredibly satisfying. Here, we mix spelt with cooked mushrooms and leeks, sautéed until tender and then marinated in cider vinegar. The vegetables give each bite of salad a pop of tartness to play against the nutty, earthy flavors of the grain.
Carrot and Rye Berry Salad With Celery, Cilantro, and Marcona Almonds
This salad is packed with contrasting flavors and textures: crisp celery, onion, and carrot; chewy rye berries; and crunchy toasted almonds. Cilantro leaves and a simple lemon and balsamic vinaigrette add some freshness.
Warm Whole-Grain Salad With Fennel, Arugula, Prosciutto, and Pecorino
When roasted, fennel has a slightly licorice-like sweetness, perfect for pairing with other intense flavors. We combine it with peppery arugula and salty pecorino and prosciutto in this whole-grain salad; tender cooked rye berries are our grain of choice here, but spelt or farro would also work well. The hearty ingredients make this salad ideal for preparing on Sunday and taking to work all week long.
Make-Ahead Chickpea Salad With Cumin and Celery
If you're willing to put in more time and effort, use dried chickpeas for the best possible texture. If you want it quick and easy, go for canned peas. Either way, this salad, flavored with parsley, carrot, onion, and a cumin vinaigrette, is refreshing, nourishing, and a snap to prepare. Go ahead and make a big batch—its flavor will only improve as it sits.
Easy Make-Ahead Carrot and Chickpea Salad With Dill and Pumpkin Seeds
Again, dried chickpeas will provide better flavor, but we won't blame you for subbing canned ones if you're in a rush. Tossing them with grated carrot and a vinaigrette made with lots of dill yields a salad so bright in color and flavor, you'll forget all about the cold. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan if you like; we prefer the hands-off method of just sticking them in the microwave for a few minutes.
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad With Bacon and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Brussels sprouts are one of our favorite winter treasures. While you'll often find us roasting or frying ours, this recipe takes its inspiration from a classic warm spinach salad with bacon. We incorporate the bacon in no fewer than three ways here: sautéing the charred sprout leaves in rendered bacon fat, mixing bacon fat with honey and hazelnuts for a complex vinaigrette, and tossing the cooked bacon with the salad.
Winter Greens Salad With Fennel, Citrus, and Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette
Sure, you can buy citrus all year long, but you'll never find a more diverse or delicious selection than in winter. Here, we use a mix of citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, and pomelo, and pair their sweet, tart, and bitter flavors with endive, radicchio, escarole, and sliced fennel. A creamy dressing made with a touch of citrus juice gives the salad a balanced richness.
Beet and Citrus Salad With Pine Nut Vinaigrette
Roasting beets in foil with a bit of olive oil doesn't just concentrate their sweet, earthy flavor—it also leaves them perfectly tender and easy to peel. They're especially tasty, and beautiful to look at, when chopped and tossed with citrus, arugula, and a pine nut vinaigrette.
Winter Greens Salad With Flax Seeds, Shaved Beets, and Radishes
Combining bitter winter greens and radishes with earthy, crunchy raw beets, flax seeds, and Parmesan creates a salad with tons of complementary flavors and textures. Use golden or Chioggia beets for a prettier presentation; red ones are just as tasty, but will stain the greens.
Roasted Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole
If you don't want to invest an entire day in a traditional mole sauce, you'll find the simplified version we use here, made with chilies, peanut butter, chocolate, and raisins, far more manageable. Par-cook the carrots in boiling water before roasting them with a mix of chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, coriander, and salt, then use the same spice blend as a base for the sauce.
Chilled Carrots With Tahini-Ginger Dressing
Delicious in any season, this chilled carrot dish features a vinaigrette made with ginger, cilantro, lemon, and just enough tahini to add complexity without overwhelming the other flavors. Shocking the carrots in ice water immediately after blanching leaves them just tender enough, with a little bite remaining.
Roasted Pear Salad With Endive, Pomegranate, Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Intensely sweet caramelized pears are a natural foil here for endive, arugula, and blue cheese, while bright pomegranate seeds lend the salad crunch and a pretty dappling of ruby-red color. With powerful ingredients like these, you don't need a complicated dressing—we go for an easy balsamic vinaigrette with honey and toasted hazelnuts.
Fall Harvest Salad With Roasted Brassicas, Fingerlings, and Radishes
Bursting with seasonal produce, this salad is inspired by fall, but wonderful straight through winter. We use a variety of roasted and fresh vegetables (including sunchokes, fingerling potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and winter greens) for maximum contrast. You can even mix in the tarragon-flavored vinaigrette ahead of time, since the ingredients are sturdy enough to stand up to dressing.