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Remember to celebrate what you like. Whether it's roasted butternut squash, mustard greens, or croutons, go ahead and add it to your salad!

Featured Article

Making Salads Sing

I think it's safe to say that most of us are not pining away for salads during the winter months. To be brutally honest, cold weather and grey skies don’t make me crave lettuce. For most of us, winter meals bring thoughts of comfort foods like shepherd’s pie, coq aux vin, and French onion soup. Never has, “it’s so cold outside. I could sure use a delicious salad to warm me up,” been heard in any household that feels the grip of winter. Salad has not traditionally brought anyone comfort during a cold winter’s night.

Making salads seasonal is the key to enjoying delicious greens all year round. The more exotic winter lettuces such as buttercrunch, mâche (lamb’s lettuce), and frisée are delicious but should never replace old standards like romaine and arugula or everyone’s forever favorite salad green, spinach. Incorporate your favorite blend of winter lettuces with a choice of roasted root vegetables, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts, dried fruit, late harvest oranges, beets, Brussels sprouts, and your choice of quinoa or farro, red onion or fennel. These fine ingredients combine to offer a seasoned salad for winter enjoyment. I’d even suggest a warm balsamic vinegar dressing with bacon, shallots tossed with the salad.

Salads sing when there’s a chorus of different ingredients, all served at the peak of perfection, combined with a delicious dressing that marries the flavors. In winter, the peak of perfection can mean something as simple as an oven-roasted butternut squash, or a more elevated salad addition such as chevre chaud (a classic French brûléed goat’s cheese toast point). Just mixing in a couple of warm ingredients can change the way you look at salad completely and elevate those mundane greens to the fantastic!

Take a look at what’s around the produce aisle in your favorite supermarket and see what is seasonal. Cauliflower, broccoli, radish, red cabbage, and fresh parsley all make my short list of winter salad ingredients. As standalone ingredients, they are all terrific. You can coarsely chop them and mix them together with a few chickpeas and a warm lemon vinaigrette as a simple way to jazz up a chopped salad. Serve with warm roasted chicken breast or a few slices of flank steak and you have a hearty and healthy meal.

Move away from the familiar and change up your ingredients. Rather than berries, try pomegranate seeds. Instead of walnuts, try pistachios or filberts. There are many varieties of radishes in most supermarkets this time of the year and I challenge you to seek out heirloom root vegetables such as golden beets or purple carrots. Jazz up your salads, and honor the season. Remember to think outside the salad box and invite new, fresh, and delicious ingredients onto your bed of lettuce.

Here is one of my favorite winter salad recipes.

Mâche with feta and pomegranate seeds

1 cup mâche

1 cup arugula 

1/4 cup feta, cubed

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 red onion sliced

1/4 cup butternut squash cubed, roasted

olive oil and white wine vinegar

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients and drizzle with olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Add salt and cracked pepper to taste. Toss gently and serve with warm bread and butter.

  • Remember to celebrate what you like. Whether it's roasted butternut squash, mustard greens, or croutons, go ahead and add it to your salad!