Who says salads are only best in the summer? Here are 7 steps to build out a heartier salad to satisfy your appetite and tastebuds.
Salads can seem like a rarity in the winter. In the summer, it’s easy to have salads all day long: something cold, light and fresh just always sounds good. Once it starts to get snowy and cold outside, most people gravitate towards soups, chilis, curries, roasted vegetables, and sheet pan dinners.
But just because it’s winter doesn’t mean a salad can’t still be satisfying!
The two major complaints when it comes to making a salad at home:
- They aren’t filling, especially when you’re looking for something heartier in the colder months.
- It’s hard to keep all of the fresh stuff on hand, and use it before it goes bad.
In reality, salads can be inspired by what leftovers you have, or what herbs you need to use up. You don’t have to make a special grocery list, just have trust in your pantry! Here are some ideas to get you started:
If you think you hate salad, try experimenting with some new and interesting greens – they all have different flavors and textures. Try arugula, spinach, baby kale, spring mix, or leaf lettuce.
2. WINTER VEGGIES
Have leftover roasted squash, brussel sprouts, broccoli, or bell peppers? They make great salad toppers! If not, grated raw carrots are an easy alternative.
Canned beans are super convenient if you don’t have the time to make them from scratch. Drain and rinse canned beans so the liquid doesn’t stain or overpower your salad. Other options include Great Northern, pinto, or garbanzo.
4. DRIED FRUIT
Nothing like some chewy and tart sweetness from dried fruits, including apricots, cranberries, cherries, raisins, and dates.
5. TOASTED NUTS
Toasting nuts brings out a wonderful flavor and only takes a few minutes. Simply make them in batches and store in a jar. Sliced almonds and walnuts are the best when toasted! Other nut options include cashews, sunflower seeds, and pistachios.
6. GOOD CHEESE
If you go flavorful on the cheese, a little goes a long way and really takes the flavor up a notch. Try feta, goat, bleu, or shredded parmesan.
Contrast the heartier vegetables and pungent cheese with a simple dressing instead of a heavier or creamier one, such as balsamic, red wine, or champagne vinaigrette.
Rather than making sad salads with just lettuce, tomato and onion, make it interesting and something you look forward to eating. Don’t forget to bulk it up with some protein like beans, chicken, canned fish.
Toss and enjoy!
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Leanne Ray, MS, RDN is a Denver-based Registered Dietitian empowering women to sustain healthy lifestyles that are practical and realistic. By helping others find happiness and joy through delicious foods that don’t involve guilt or stress, she shares how healthy eating can involve satisfaction instead of boring, low-calorie diets. Visit her site to read more from Leanne.