For us, a good meal involves contrast, vibrant vegetables and meatless mains, even in the coldest months. We’ve put together a collection of 6 of our most popular hearty winter salads to inspire your winter salading.
The Last Salad of Winter & A Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette
Paul and I are nuts for winter fennel salads, and it turns out that our 14-month old daughter is a big fan as well... that is until we upped our game and added this amazing caramelized apple vinaigrette. Madeline ignored the salad completely and licked the vinaigrette off all the salad components, all the while loudly commenting "mmmmmm." We realize that a 14-month-old cannot be our barometer of good food, but darn it if we don't love this salad combination ourselves, and want to lick the vinaigrette off the bottom of our plates. The tart green apple, crisp fennel, sweet blood oranges and sweet and sour notes of this wonderful caramelized apple vinaigrette make this a winner.
Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus & Feta
We love outdoor eating, and as temperatures rise in Northern Indiana, we've been honing our pasta salad line-up for the picnic season. Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta is an edgier alternative to the traditional picnic classic. In our pasta salad, we replaced the larger pasta with small rice shaped orzo, added crunchy asparagus, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, and tossed it with an assertive garlicky lemon vinaigrette, herbs and feta. Enjoy this early picnic season with Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta.
For other grain based picnic ready salads try our Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad, Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus.
Hearty Buckwheat Salad with Creamy Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
We discovered three bags of buckwheat groats in one of our suitcases when we returned to Haiti a few months ago.... some toddler packing assistance, perhaps?! Buckwheat is one of our favorite salad grains that we make seasonal adaptations of throughout the year. I especially love the nutty flavors of buckwheat with a creamy sweet roasted garlic vinaigrette and toasted vegetables. Beets and carrots are all plentiful in our Port-au-Prince markets this time of year, and we love the slightly offbeat grassy flavor of local okra in the mix.
For other grain based salads try our Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta, Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad, Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus.
Slow Cooker Lentil Salad with Roasted Squash
Research shows that taste and smell work together to help guide our perception of the flavor of food. Food without scent, is a large part of why I find the flu season so gastronomically depressing. Anytime you need to blow your nose to taste your steak, you know things are getting desperate. In this light, the old school slow cooker becomes a brilliant device: an aromatizer and purveyor of olfactory delight. Because who doesn't love the smell of cooking food when you come home from work starving? This fall, I found a clever slow cooker technique for French lentil salad. Our Slow Cooker Lentil Salad with Roasted Squash has a traditional French Dijon style vinaigrette, is garnished with a flurry of cheese, herbs and nuts, and with a nod towards fall, accompanied by caramelized roasted Delicata Squash. Do not hesitate to use bold flavors in this salad, a lentil under seasoned is a truly woeful thing.
Crisp Fennel Apple Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette
Fennel and apple pair terrifically in this simple and elegant salad, wonderful for cleansing the palate after a hearty winter stew. Fennel is a winter vegetable that brings a celery like crunch and cucumbery sweetness to this easy winter salad. We like to pair fennel and apple with a tart and salty citrus vinaigrette, and couldn't resist the bright orange color and flavor of this tangerine vinaigrette.