We often seek warm and comforting meals to ward off the winter chill, but the colder weather doesn’t mean bidding farewell to salads; in fact, it’s a season to embrace them with a whole new palette of flavors. Winter salads are a great way to bring the best of winter produce to your plate, using in-season ingredients such as root vegetables, kale, brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, nuts, and seeds. These items don’t just add depth and variety to your salad bowl; they also pack a nutritional punch to keep you healthy during the colder months.
As you say goodbye to fall produce and start meal prepping for the winter, explore the top 15 winter salads you can make this season for a healthy lunch or snack.
The Benefits of Eating Seasonal Produce
Embracing seasonal produce, especially during winter, offers a unique blend of benefits. Vegetables and fruits like kale, brussels sprouts, and citrus are at their peak during the colder season and come loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants. These vitamins enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your meals and boost immunity and energy when needed most.
Additionally, seasonal eating supports both the environment and the local economy. Produce that is in season during the winter requires fewer resources to grow and gets to your plate with a smaller carbon footprint, and by buying from local farmer’s markets, you can support your local economy. Plus, locally grown, seasonal food is often cheaper, and when an abundance of produce is available, grocery stores that support local farmers will usually run a sale!
The Best Winter Salad Recipes of the Season
Now that you know more about the benefits of eating seasonal produce, it’s time to dive into our top 15 winter salad recipes!
1. Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad
Combine the hearty texture of kale with the natural sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes for a perfect winter blend, best when topped with a light and tangy vinaigrette. Beyond the sweet potatoes and kale, all you need to whip up this hearty winter salad is an apple, pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.
2. Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pecan Salad
Enjoy the nutty crunch of pecans mixed with slightly caramelized Brussels sprouts in a warm salad that’s as nutritious as it is satisfying. This salad is excellent as a holiday side dish or a wholesome lunch! The key ingredients are:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Maple Syrup
- Chopped Pecans and Bacon
- Dried Cranberries
3. Quinoa, Beet, and Citrus Salad
A vibrant mix of fluffy quinoa, earthy beets, and zesty citrus, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse and is ideal for a refreshing winter meal. Whether you make dressing at home or top it with a balsamic vinaigrette of your choice, the roasted beets are the stars of the show.
4. Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad
Try pairing roasted butternut squash with tender spinach under a citrus-forward dressing for a comforting and colorful winter dish. You’ll only need roasted butternut squash, baby spinach, pecans, dried cranberries, and pomegranate seeds to make this bright winter salad.
If you’re looking for other robust, citrus flavors, check out 3Native’s Greek and Veg Head salads for a fast and healthy lunch.
5. Winter Cobb Salad (with a seasonal twist!)
For a winter take on the classic Cobb, you can use winter salad greens, roasted root veggies, and a light vinaigrette for a filling lunch, dinner, or snack. Try using these ingredients to spice it up:
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Almonds or Pecans
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Feta Cheese
If you’re still craving the classic Cobb, don’t worry! 3Natives serves a flavorful Cobb salad all year, with cucumber, pico de gallo, hard-boiled egg, avocado, and more.
6. Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Roasted carrots bring a cozy warmth to the dish and complement the creamy texture of avocado to make this salad a delightful winter meal. The trick? There’s no lettuce! Roast the carrots in a pan and spread a spice paste on top before arranging over avocado and topping with sprouts, extra sauce, and sour cream!
7. Pomegranate and Wild Rice Salad
Tart pomegranate seeds and nutty wild rice collide to offer a delicious combination of textures and flavors, ideal for all your winter festivities. Serve over arugula and top with green onions, cranberries, pecans, feta, and pomegranate seeds for a special, any-time-of-day salad.
8. Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad
Create a symphony of flavors with the sweetness of pears, the richness of blue cheese, and the crunch of walnuts for a sophisticated winter dish. On top of mixed salad greens and with a homemade Dijon mustard salad dressing, you can achieve a flavorful yet simple salad.
If you’re a fan of blue cheese, try 3Native’s buffalo chicken salad! It’s packed with protein and served with a buffalo blue cheese dressing to warm the cold winter days.
9. Cranberry, Apple, and Feta Salad
Blend dried cranberries and crisp apples with creamy feta in this refreshing salad, bringing a balanced burst of brightness to winter days. Not only is this salad easy to make, but it only has a few ingredients; any spring green mix, red and green apples, walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries, bacon, and an apple balsamic vinaigrette of your choice.
10. Roasted Root Vegetable Salad
A full-bodied mix of various roasted root vegetables, seasoned to perfection, is the best way to celebrate this winter’s bounty. Roast beets, carrots, parsnips, and onions before mixing them with arugula and topping with a light vinaigrette for a unique winter salad.
11. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
Instead of using lettuce or spinach as a base, this easy winter salad combines crunchy broccoli and cauliflower with rich, creamy dressing to create a comforting meal or side dish perfect for cold weather. Create your own with these ingredients:
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Florets
- Colby Jack Cheese
- Red Onion
- Italian Dressing
12. Lentil and Mushroom Salad
Pack on the nutritional value with earthy mushrooms and protein-rich lentils in a creamy garlic dressing for a flavorful and filling winter salad. Unlike the rest of the salads on this list, this one is made warm! After cooking a mushroom and lentil mixture on the stovetop, put it directly in a bowl with the greens and top it with dressing.
13. Crispy Chickpea and Orange Salad
Want to spice things up this winter? Try a zesty salad that pairs crispy, sweet chickpeas with orange tahini dressing, offering a bold and refreshing flavor profile that’s perfect for a winter lunch. With caramelized dates, chopped pistachios, and refreshing spring greens, this salad is a unique and delicious cure for your winter blues.
14. The Waldorf Salad
First created in New York City in 1893, The Waldorf salad has become an American classic. Think of it as chicken salad without the chicken; crispy apples, crunchy celery, and roasted walnuts combine in this balanced salad to create a beautiful mix of textures and flavors.
But if you’re craving chicken salad this winter, 3Natives has you covered. Our chicken salad and chicken salad wraps are packed with protein and flavor to help you through the colder months.
15. Asian-Style Cabbage and Sesame Salad
Bring an Asian twist to your salad game with crunchy cabbage and sesame dressing, delivering a light yet flavorful dish with an easy recipe. This zesty chopped salad is perfect for meal prep, and all you’ll need to achieve it is shredded cabbage, sesame oil, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, red pepper flakes, shredded cheese, and green onions.
Love a little Asian flair in your salads? 3Natives makes Curry Chicken and Thai Chicken salads that delight and surprise with a ginger dressing and red pepper.
Healthy and Delicious Salads All Year Long
While hand-crafting an amazing winter salad at home is an excellent option for snow days and freezing temperatures, 3Natives offers a robust selection of salads year-round to appease your cravings and support your nutrition. We source all our ingredients locally, and with options ranging from tangy and light to creamy and hearty, your local 3Natives is sure to have the perfect salad for you.