5 Warm Salad Recipes You'll Love, Because It's Officially Too Cold For Anything, Well, Cold
Even the most diehard Sweetgreen devotee knows that once temperatures drop below 60 degrees, it's hard to commit to a bowl full of cold vegetables — and there's actually a reason for that. "As the weather gets colder, it is natural for your body to crave foods that will warm you from the inside out," Serena Poon, certified nutritionist, chef, reiki master, and founder of the method of Culinary Alchemy tells TZR in an email. That said, you don't have to quit your beloved salads for the colder months — just opt for a warm winter salad instead.
And don't be surprised if you end up adopting warm salads into your year-round repertoire as well. Not only are they comforting, but as Poon explains, they're generally also easier to digest than their raw counterparts. Plus, they're just as easy to throw together — Poon says you can essentially use anything you have on hand in your kitchen, though she does have a few guiding principles that may be helpful if you're totally new to the world of warm salads.
"I recommend eating seasonal root vegetables, preferably from the farmers market, but also listening to what your body needs," she explains. "Tune into which vegetables will nourish you and make you feel your best during this meal. Make sure to roast or sauté whichever vegetables and grains you select until they are fully cooked and soft to the taste for the best digestion. Add oils for moisturizing effects and herbs for flavor and health benefits."
But if you're not ready to make up your own just yet, there are five easy warm winter salads ahead to get you started. Bon appetit!
Warm Salad Recipe: Nourishing Root Vegetable Salad
One of Poon's own favorite warm salads is one that she says "is inspired by the cultural cross section from my studies in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, two practices that often use warm salads for balance and digestion."
To create it, start by chopping and roasting one beet with half a fennel bulb, a diced clove of garlic, and a tablespoon of avocado oil for about 45 minutes. Separately, cook 1/2 cup of dry millet on a stove top and mix it with a tablespoon of avocado oil once it's cooked.
Then, sauté three stalks of collard greens in a tablespoon of oil and a clove of chopped garlic. Stir in a cup of mushrooms, 1/4 cup of walnuts, and the fennel. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and dress with a warm oil dressing with fresh herbs.
Warm Salad Recipe: Slow-Roasted & Fresh Cherry Tomato Salad
"I have a slow-roasted and fresh tomato salad in EATING OUT LOUD which is the perfect example of showcasing an ingredient in two ways," she tells TZR. "Tomatoes are one of my all time fave ingredients and I really wanted to showcase how different they taste when raw and roasted. I also feel like adding a cooked element to a salad immediately makes it heartier and more of a substantial dish plus playing with different temperatures in a salad creates such a nice dimension."
For this bright recipe, you'll toss roasted cherry tomatoes with fresh halved cherry tomatoes, along with a few other ingredients like red onion, feta, basil, and garlic. Then mix with a vinegar, honey, and garlic dressing. See the full recipe in Grinshpan's cookbook.
Warm Salad Recipe: Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Black Rice Salad
Dan Churchill, a chef for the holistic wellness app Centr, also recommends a salad that brings warm and fresh elements together.
To make, start by boiling 1/3 cup of black rice in 2/3 cups of water until tender and most of the water has been absorbed. Let it rest for a few minutes.
Once cooled, toss it in a bowl with about 1 1/4 cups of shredded brussels sprouts. Add 1/2 a bunch of chopped mint leaves, 2 sliced scallions, a tablespoon of lemon juice, about 3 tablespoons of dried cranberries, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of peeled and chopped hazelnuts over top.
Warm Salad Recipe: Crispy Quinoa Patties With Spinach & Tomatoes
For food blogger and creator at Jessica in the Kitchen, Jessica Hylton-Leckie, a go-to recipe features the perfect fridge clean-out patties and a great way to get in some greens. "My favourite [warm salad recipe] would be my Crispy Quinoa Patties with Spinach and Tomatoes!" she tells TZR in an email. "They are the perfect combination of light but filling crispy and flavourful quinoa patties made with a mix of quinoa, seasonings, spinach and tomatoes, on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes, served with a vegan yogurt tahini salad!" You can view the full recipe at her website.
Warm Salad Recipe: Roast Chicken Toast
Chef Vivian Howard takes a slightly different approach to warm salad recipes with a toast-salad hybrid. Roast Chicken Toast, from her new cookbook This Will Make It Taste Good, is a re-imagination of a crouton: "Basically, a piece of bread transformed into a crouton under roasting chicken legs, the bread itself is squishy and rich with chicken schmaltz in some spots and astonishingly crispy for the same reason in others," she tells TZR.
To make this dish, you'll roast four chicken legs on top of what Howard dubs "bread pillows," aka small thick slices of bread. Then, once the chicken is cooked and cool, pull it apart and toss with Howard's "Little Green Dress" dressing, salt, hot sauce, and arugula and place it on top of the toasted bread. Don't have all these ingredients? No problem, she says: "The key here is roasting the chicken on toast and if you don’t have the other ingredients you can toss the chicken with whatever lettuce and dressing you have on hand." View the full recipe in Howard's new cookbook.