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Warm - yes, warm - winter salads

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Light, tasty comfort food

I came across a recipe for a warm winter salad last week. At first I thought, "Huh, that sounds a little odd." Then I took a closer look at the ingredients and directions and before I knew it I was salivating. Then I tried it, and I was hooked! I think warm salads may be a new go to meal for winter nights when I want something comforting, but not necessarily heavy.

Warm Salad

A tasty variety of satisfying ingredients

Just as with cool salads, warm salads can contain a variety of ingredients and have a dressing. While the base may be firmer veggies, such as cubes of squash or potato or Brussels sprouts, you can add greens, cheeses, and meats, much like a cool salad. You can be just as creative with a warm salad as you can with a cool salad, and the abundance of vegetables means lots of excellent vitamins.

How to build a warm salad

Serves 4 to 6

Choose two of the following ingredients:

Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered
Potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Beets, peeled, par cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Broccoli, cut into small florets
Cauliflower, cut into small florets
Just about any veggie you can think of!

Then add these goodies:

Multi-grain bread, several sliced cut into cubes
Olive oil
Shallots, sliced very thin
Vinegar, balsamic or red wine
Salt and pepper
Baby greens: spinach or arugula work great
Bacon, cooked and crumbled, or prosciutto, sliced
Cheese: Romano or goat cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss your two main vegetable ingredients with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a heavy pinch of salt and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Then toss the bread with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and spread it out on a second rimmed baking sheet. Put both the veggies and the bread cubes in the oven. Roast the veggies for about 20 minutes (some caramelization around the edges is good, and potatoes and squash should be just tender), and toast the bread for about 10 minutes.

3. While the veggies and bread are in the oven, make the vinaigrette using the olive oil, vinegar of your choice, the shallots and salt and pepper. Remember that the bread will absorb some, so make a little more than usual.

4. Put the greens in a large serving bowl. Just before the veggies come out of the oven, and after the bread cubes have cooled a touch, add the bread cubes to the bowl. As soon as the veggies are out of the oven add them in to the bowl and toss a couple of times. Add the vinaigrette and toss well. The greens will wilt just a bit. Sprinkle the bacon or prosciutto and cheese over the top and serve.

More recipes featuring hearty salads

Winter fruit salads
Warm chicken salads
Caesar salads

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