The winter months are a time for cozying up by the fire, holiday parties, and family togetherness. Any gathering or celebration typically revolves around food.
Winter meals generally consist of hearty, hot, and
comforting dishes that put meat on our bones and warm our bellies, but there are lots of great winter salads if you’re looking for something lighter.
However, there are plenty of ways to incorporate healthy options into your winter meal repertoire. Unlike summer salads, winter salads use
hearty winter vegetables and are often cooked veggie salads.
If you’re looking for winter salad ideas to take advantage of the diverse harvest of winter vegetables and flavors, the following list of winter salad recipes will fulfill a month’s worth of delectable meals.
Beets are a
hearty winter root vegetable with a rich, sweet flavor that tastes wonderful raw and cooked.
This classy winter salad recipe roasts beets to bring out a caramelized sweetness.
The combination of roasted beets with savory,
creamy goat cheese and crunchy, bitter walnuts makes for an award-winning flavor and texture profile.
This super simple, affordable, and zesty sweet potato salad combines baked sweet potatoes with premade and raw ingredients.
Taking inspiration from the southwest, this sweet potato salad bakes sweet potatoes and onions, tossing in canned corn and black beans and finishing it off with fresh chopped cilantro, peppers, and garlic.
You don’t even have to make a dressing. A simple squeeze of lime juice and seasonings will do.
Kale is a hearty winter green
packed with vital nutrients.
Sauteeing it and baking it bring out a bitter flavor that works well with garlic.
However, this recipe uses raw kale as a texturally delightful, mild-flavored foundation for raw onions, pecans, feta, and pomegranate.
The key to this recipe is dressing the kale and onion first and letting them sit to soften and sweeten them.
This rainbow of a salad is almost too beautiful to eat! It’s also a super-filling root vegetable medley worthy of the main course designation.
It places butternut squash, small potatoes, parsnips, and roasted carrots roasted to perfection over a bed of green and purple lettuces and chopped fresh herbs.
The final touch is a sprinkle of feta and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, adding a tart creaminess to all that roughage.
True to its name, this salad uses winter ingredients that are as white as snow, including endive, escarole, leeks, and hazelnuts.
The bitterness of the endive and escarole get a sweet and spicy kick from the leeks and a nutty finish with the wonderful hazelnut oil and Dijon vinaigrette.
This fall color salad is on the lighter side, making it the perfect side dish to accompany a bowl of white bean soup.
Baby spinach comprises the foundation for this nicely textured salad, with chewy dried cranberries, crunchy, buttery cashews, and creamy goat cheese.
I loved the addition of poppy seeds to the simple honey and lemon juice drizzle.
The winter months bring a bountiful fruit harvest full of citrus fruits and even some tropical favorites.
This winter fruit salad features slices of mandarins, pineapple, kiwis, and pomegranate arils with a sweet honey poppyseed and lemon dressing.
I serve this fruit salad for holiday brunches alongside a savory quiche.
While the thought of using raw broccoli instead of lettuce as the foundation of a salad might sound too fibrous, this broccoli cashew salad uses a super creamy mayo-based dressing to soften the florets.
The buttery nuttiness from the cashews,
tart green apples, and cranberries offers an explosion of flavors and textures.
Gorgonzola is the quintessential stinky cheese with a sharp flavor and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Pairing it with sweet apples and candied walnuts makes this salad a veritable cheese board.
The best part in my opinion is the crispy bits of pancetta adding a smokey, savory crunch to this sophisticated and decadent salad.
Another fibrous, raw kale salad, this red cabbage, kale, and pomegranate salad uses julienned carrots, cabbage, and small bits of kale, so you get a taste of every ingredient with each bite.
In addition to pomegranate arils, the salad dressing is a wonderfully sweet and sour vinaigrette with pomegranate molasses.
If you love pomegranates, this salad is for you!
The title of this recipe mentions pears, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This bright, crunchy salad contains pears, apples, and cranberries over a bed of romaine with a sprinkle of shredded Swiss cheese and chopped cashews.
The poppyseed dressing is a creamy and tangy concoction featuring mayo, half and half, and Dijon.
If you can’t decide between a fruit salad and a vegetable salad, you can have both with this gorgeously colorful spinach salad.
It has every winter vegetable under the sun over a bed of baby spinach with a light and sweet vinaigrette to tie it all together.
I also like to add some chopped pecans for a nutty crunch.
A fully cooked winter vegetable salad, this collage of fall colors features a hearty helping of sweet root vegetables and bitter brussels sprouts.
I like that the butternut squash, beets, and Brussels are all the same size.
The toasted pecan halves and chewy dried cranberries give depth of texture and tart, nutty complementary flavors.
This elegant winter salad has you make candied walnuts from scratch using maple syrup instead of brown sugar or honey.
I especially like the crushed red pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon added to the maple for an extra spicy kick.
This salad uses bitter arugula, sweet and sour cara cara orange and pomegranate, and savory goat cheese to cover all the flavor bases.
This healthy and delicious salad showcases
a spectrum of pink hues with dark maroon beets and bright pink grapefruit slices.
The tart and bitter grapefruit complement the sweetness of the beets with a much-needed crunch from the walnuts.
The blue cheese adds a creamy, sharp bite. If you aren’t a blue cheese fan, I recommend using feta or soft goat cheese.
Panzanella salad is a specialty from Tuscany, born out of a waste-not-want-not mentality.
Stale bread gets a second life as thick croutons in what is usually a cold summer salad of tomatoes and onions.
This winterized Panzanella salad pairs croutons with roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash, drizzled with a sweet and tart balsamic vinaigrette.
Adding bacon to anything is an instant upgrade, and this kale salad is no exception.
Using the same tried-and-true method to tenderize chopped kale, this salad lets it rest in a lovely apple cider vinaigrette before adding the crunchy apple, bacon, and almond.
I love the combination of almond, feta, and dried cranberries which offer three distinct textures and flavors.
This refreshing and colorful citrus salad gives you free rein to choose your favorite citrus fruits to showcase.
Each citrus fruit gets cut into delicate quarter-inch rounds and plated with thin rounds of cucumber, chopped hazelnuts, and a delicious sherry and Dijon vinaigrette.
This is a stunning side dish for a fancy dinner party. I like to use navel oranges, grapefruits, and blood oranges for color.
This 100% vegan salad reminds me of a healthy coleslaw, using chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, and diced broccoli florets for a delightful crunch.
The real star of the show in my opinion is the maple tahini dressing. It’s creamy, sweet, savory, and tart, coating the roughage to soften it.
chopped nuts and cranberries for added texture. I like to also add avocado.
A great main course salad, this grilled chicken winter salad with cranberry vinaigrette is over a bed of purple cabbage and chopped kale.
The hearty veggie foundation belies an even heartier topping of grilled chicken breast, blue cheese, and candied pecans with a nice citrus pop from the cuties and dried cranberries.
Instead of your average side dish of roasted potatoes, this winter potato salad is a vibrant and more interesting alternative.
It calls for
a variety of small roasted potatoes with colors ranging from purple to white, tossed with roasted beets over a bed of cabbage and arugula and drizzled with a simple mix of red wine vinegar and olive oil.
While winter salads tend to be on the hearty side, you can find light winter salads to complement a weeknight dinner, too.
A case in point is this lovely orange-pomegranate winter salad over a bed of crunchy baby romaine.
It combines thinly sliced orange rounds with pomegranate arils, pecans, and a sprinkle of feta cheese for a well-balanced and light side dish salad.
Avocado is a creamy and mild ingredient that offers
a great alternative to cheese in salads.
This elegant winter salad places long, thick slices of avocado over a bed of lettuce with oily, salty Marcona almonds and pomegranate arils.
I especially liked the addition of chopped fennel which gives a strong and unique anise flavor that pairs well with avocado and almonds.
Perhaps the lightest salad on my list of winter salad ideas, this colorful salad features a mix of wintery lettuces and greens like celery root, radicchio, and romaine.
Each ingredient has a different texture and a distinct flavor, tied together by a decadent lemon-anchovy-cream dressing.
Anchovy adds a rich umami flavor to the crème fraiche and garlic. I often use this dressing instead of
I especially enjoyed this recipe because it offers a unique order to the salad-making experience that reminds me of making pasta.
You start with the dressing, adding the salad ingredients to the same bowl and tossing everything together.
Pears, gorgonzola, and pecans are a classic trio that pairs wonderfully with a hazelnut oil-infused vinaigrette dressing.
These salads are great for winter, using seasonal product to keep things light throughout winter.
They also make great, light additions to holiday meals.
Serve them at Christmas eve or for Christmas dinner as a side dish!
Roasted Beetroot, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad
Sweet Potato Salad
Kale and Pomegranate Salad
Roasted Vegetable Salad
Winter White Salad
Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese
Winter Fruit Salad
Broccoli Cashew Salad with Apples, Pears, and Cranberries
Spinach, Apple, and Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts
Red Cabbage, Kale, and Pomegranate Salad
Pear Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Spinach Salad with Apples, Pears, Mandarin Oranges, Kiwi Fruit, Cranberries, and Pomegranate
Vegetable Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Beets
Winter Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Fig Dressing
Beet Salad with Grapefruit, Blue Cheese, and Walnuts
Roasted Winter Panzanella Salad
Apple, Cranberry, and Bacon Kale Winter Salad
Citrus Winter Salad with Hazelnuts and Sherry Vinegar Dressing
Sweet Crunch Winter Salad
Grilled Chicken Winter Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Colorful Winter Potato Salad
Orange-Pomegranate Winter Salad
Avocado, Pomegranate, and Almonds Winter Salad
Fennel and Pomegranate Winter Salad
Pecans, Pears, and Gorgonzola Winter Salad
1. Choose your favorite recipe.
2. Gather the necessary ingredients. 3. Prep and cook your recipe. 4. Enjoy!
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