Author: Laura Newcomer • Date: January 1, 2019 • Appears in:
Greens Aren’t Just for Summer!
Salad lovers, rejoice! Even in the dead of winter, it’s possible to eat nutritious, seasonal, and fresh salads any day of the week. In fact, winter is an exciting time to experiment with unusual produce that adds new textures, colors, and nutrients to your plate. Dig in to this winter produce guide and then get cooking!
First of all: What’s in Season? Your Guide to Winter Produce
The list of delicious, nutritious produce that grows seasonally in colder months includes but is definitely not limited to:
Dark leafy greens : Kale, chard (particularly white-stemmed chard), spinach, mustard greens, escarole, and others do well in colder temperatures and pack a serious nutritional punch.12 These dark leafy greens provide vitamins K, A, and C, plus a healthy dose of fiber.
Cruciferous vegetables : These include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. They’re nutritious veggies that are rich sources of antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce wear and tear on the body and may even help prevent cancer.4
Root vegetables : Turnips, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets: they’re all hardy, nutritious, and delicious. Combined, they contain antioxidants; vitamins C, B6, and K; and potassium, calcium, folate, and fiber.56
Winter squash : Winter squash comes in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, from pumpkins to knobby green goosenecks. While you wouldn’t want to bite into a raw version, cooked winter squash is incredibly versatile: put it to use in anything from soup to dessert. Squash also boasts high levels of potassium, beta-carotene, and antioxidants.7
Citrus fruits : Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are juiciest in the winter. They’re also loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which can help increase “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.8 Of course, most people in the United States don’t live near citrus farms. So if you’re concerned about eating local, then leave these off your seasonal eating list.
Cranberries : These tart little berries are a veritable superfood. Not only can they boost good cholesterol and lower the bad kind, but they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins that have been shown to improve skin health.9
Pomegranates : Like their red-skinned cousin the cranberry, pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and promote good cholesterol.10 They’re also packed with vitamins E, B6, and K, and have been linked to improved cardiovascular health.
Now that you know what’s in season, it’s time to put winter produce to good use. Get started with one of these stellar winter salad recipes.
Mixing raw and roasted beets creates distinct flavors and textures. Roast the beets on aluminum foil for 30 to 40 minutes, then cool them before peeling and slicing. (You can prepare the dressing while the beets cool.) When made all at once, the salad takes about 50 minutes to put together. If you want to save time, roast the beets a day or two in advance and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
Bright, colorful, and easy to make – what’s not to like? Feta and walnuts help to ensure that this salad keeps you full until dinner. When mixing the dressing, be sure to add the oil gradually, while whisking constantly, instead of pouring it all in at once.
Packed with nutrients and healthy fats (courtesy of the walnuts), this colorful salad makes a great side dish for a winter dinner party. Before roasting the beets, cut off the greens, leaving about half an inch of the stems on for roasting. And be sure to peel the squash before roasting it.
Long, thin strips of carrot and parsnip and a simple dressing of lemon juice, mustard, honey, and olive oil celebrate the sweet and earthy flavors of these root vegetables. When peeling the veggies, discard the first layer, then peel off ribbons until you’re no longer able to produce long strips.
Before preparing this salad, learn how to properly de-seed a pomegranate.Then make the dressing and set it aside while preparing the rest of the dish. When you’re ready to add the dressing, use your fingers to make sure all the ingredients are evenly coated.
Despite its name, this dish is great for any winter occasion. It features seasonal ingredients, including Brussels sprouts, kale, orange, and pomegranate. It’s also unique in that the ingredients are shredded instead of chopped or left whole. Before shredding the Brussels sprouts, rinse them off and remove the outer leaf.
Hearty and filling, this protein-rich meal seems straight out of medieval times. While roasting the pumpkin with garlic, combine spinach, chickpeas, and coriander, and then grill the steak with cumin. Feel free to add blanched green beans or asparagus if you want more green on the plate.
Shallots, preserved lemon peel, and fennel lend this dish a gourmet feel, while avocado adds a dose of healthy fats. Purchase the preserved lemon from a specialty store.
Embrace lesser-known winter veggies, including radicchio, endives, and watercress, in this delicate salad. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s incredibly easy to make. Simply whisk together the dressing and toss it with the chopped veggies, and lunch is served!
Cilantro dressing adds lightness and complexity of flavor to this earthy winter salad, while a sprinkling of granola provides interesting texture and crunch. In addition to roasting the veggies, you’ll need to brown the topping of oats, pepitas, and almonds.
This list proves it: winter isn’t just for cheesy, gooey casseroles. Enjoy fresh produce and leafy greens all year round with these unique and flavorful winter salad recipes !