Winter Salad

What are Winter Salads?

Winter salads bring color, vitamins and fresh tastes to brighten up your plate and keep your palate alive.  In many ways I prefer winter salads to salads at other times of the year because the ingredients are often more crispy and full of flavor.

 

How can you create a Winter Salad?

Blend colors and tastes

The key to making an exceptional winter salad is to blend colors and tastes.  Don’t be afraid to use bitter vegetables, such as Belgian endives, radicchio and escarole, all from the chicory family. You may offset the bitter tastes by adding sweet ingredients, such as sliced apples, dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, figs, and dates) or a little bit of honey or sugar in the salad dressing.

If you hesitate to use bitter vegetables, try roasting or braising them to soften their tastes.  Fennel, for example, becomes absolutely delicious in salads, pasta or other dishes when you cook it first with a little olive oil.  To learn how to braise Belgian endives, see my post from last week by clicking here.

 

Use vegetables with deep colors

Try to use vegetables with deep colors (green, orange, red and purple) as they often contain the most nutrients.  Colors will also help break the monotony of winter and bring a little sunshine to your plate.  Adding orange slices or pomegranate seeds can also be a quick way to add some color as well as to enhance some of the flavors.

For winter salads I usually start with vegetables I have at hand in my kitchen.  These vegetables can include shredded cabbage, carrots, red beets, golden beets, Belgian endives, lambs lettuce, fennel, Brussels sprouts,  celeriac, escarole, onions, as well as many other vegetables.  Although the list is fairly long, when making a winter salad it’s best to keep it simple by using only 3 to 5 main ingredients.

 

Add some fruit, protein and even grains

Next I might add some fruit (dried or fresh) to add sweetness and color.

For protein I often add a can of rinsed beans or tuna fish, or some crumbled or grated cheese. Roquefort or blue cheese are my favorites in winter salads.  Other cheeses with full flavor, such as feta or goat cheese, are also excellent choices.  By adding grilled marinated tofu or a nutseed cheese instead of cheese prepared from animal milk, this salad can be vegan.

If I want to make the salad more substantial, I will add leftover cooked grains (quinoa, bulgur wheat, or couscous) or potatoes.

 

The salad dressing

The dressing should enhance the flavors and bring them together.  Even though there are endless choices of dressings, I often find myself using the same ingredients:  chopped shallots, red wine vinegar, a little nutseed oil (walnut, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, sesame seed or pistachio) along with a little more olive oil.

Depending on my mood and the ingredients used, I’ll add a little honey, grain mustard and/or garlic.  If I’m making an Asian salad with chopped cabbage and other vegetables, the dressing will consist of grated fresh ginger, red chili flakes, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce or diluted miso paste. I might even add some fresh mint and/or coriander (cilantro).

 

How do I prepare one of my favorite Winter Salads?

I will share with you photos and recipes of several winter salads to inspire you to create your own favorite.

Last week I prepared a winter salad with Belgian endives, red beets, carrots, lamb’s lettuce, and apple to accompany a delicious Irish Soda Bread baked by Philip ÓhArtagáin in Dublin, Ireland. Discover more about Philip ÓhArtagáin’s Irish Soda Bread and by clicking here.  Find out about the man behind this yummy Irish Soda Bread by reading my Interview with Baker Philip ÓhArtagáin.

 

Belgian Foodie Winter Salad ingredients
Belgian Foodie Winter Salad ingredients

 

To make it simple to find this winter salad again, I’ll call it the Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad.  This salad takes only a few minutes to prepare, combines bitter with sweet, tastes wonderful and is full of nutritional value.

Try making the Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad and tell me if you agree how tasty it is.  Pass on the recipe to your friends to share the joy.

 

Belgian Foodie Winter Salad
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A quick, tasty and healthy winter salad to serve either as a main course or a side dish accompanying a sandwich, slice of pizza or your favorite lunchtime dish.
Chef:Belgian Foodie
Servings Prep Time
4people 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 10minutes
  • Course
  • Cuisine
  • Season
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
Dressing
  1. Chop the shallot and place in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and salt. The salt dissolves better when added first to the vinegar. Letting the shallot sit in the vinegar a few minutes helps soften their taste. I'd therefore advise to make the dressing first and let it sit as you prepare the salad.
  2. Add the oil and black pepper and mix. If you are adding honey, add it now.
Salad
  1. Wash and peel carrots, red beets and apples. Wash Belgian endives and lamb's lettuce and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Grate the carrots and red beets with a grater with medium or large holes. Slice the apples and then cut slices in half. Cut off the bottom of the Belgian endive, then slice the Belgian endive in half lengthwise, and finally slice the Belgian endive horizontally into medium thick slices. Remove the bottom of each cluster of lamb's lettuce so the leaves flow freely. Put all the vegetables and fruit in a salad bowl.
  3. If you are adding cheese, walnuts, or dried fruit, put them in the salad bowl with the vegetables and fruit.
Written by:Belgian Foodie

 

Nutrition Facts
Belgian Foodie Winter Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 152 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Sodium 158mg 7%
Potassium 379mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 14g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 222%
Vitamin C 33%
Calcium 9%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 thoughts on “Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

    1. Thank you, Luca. I will feature other winter salads over coming months. Stay tuned for more ideas. Your winters in Tuscany are surely different than ours in Belgium…so you probably have different traditions. Here we eat lots of soups during winter.

      1. Winters here are FREEZING literally. Being in the mountains doesn’t help. This year they are forecasting at least two doses of heavy snow. Maybe soups rather than salad at that point 🙂

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