You have to laugh, really: Winter, the coldest season of the year, the time when we’re instinctively wired to load up, stay warm, and fill our bellies, has also become the season synonymous with healthy eating and trimming down. Quite the paradox, eh?
While the irony of the concept may be somewhat difficult to wrap your head around, the execution doesn’t have to be. Simple winter salads—like five-ingredients-or-less-simple—are the way to achieve your “new year, new you” goals without sacrificing flavor (or needing to starve yourself). It’s all about making the most of powerful, versatile ingredients like winter citrus, and texture-enhancers like nuts and grains, not to mention basic cooking techniques like roasting. Here are nine recipes to check out this winter.
(And for the record, I don’t count pantry staples like cooking fats, vinegars, and garlic in the ingredient cap. Those you should always have on hand.)
Grapefruit and Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese
Just because the temperature outside has dropped doesn’t mean that your diet needs to be restricted to rich, stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods (though, really, who doesn’t appreciate the built-in excuse to pig out?). Instead, take advantage of peak winter citrus season and play it cool with this light, refreshing shaved fennel and grapefruit salad. Get the recipe.
Barbuto’s Raw Brussels Sprout Salad
I’m about to say something shocking, are you ready? Brussels sprouts don’t to have to be fried and tossed with fat nugs of salty, crispy bacon to taste delicious. As this super simple salad from renowned NYC chef Jonathan Waxman proves, all you really need is some lemon juice, a hunk of good Pecorino, olive oil, toasted walnuts, and a sharp mandoline. Get the recipe.
Acorn Squash and Burrata Salad
When you’re working with the bare minimum of ingredients, it’s important that each item packs a punch. In this case, roasted acorn squash delivers earthy richness, maple syrup and brown sugar bring the complementary touch of sweetness; there are hazelnuts for crunch, and burrata adds creamy decadence. Get the recipe.
Fig and Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Sweet, luscious figs, fresh, peppery arugula, tangy honey-mustard dressing: This easy winter side salad has real star potential. And, If you don’t mind slightly stepping over the ingredient cap, we’d recommend tossing in some roasted hazelnuts or pecans for extra flavor and texture. Get our Fig and Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing recipe.
Roasted Radicchio Wedge Salad
The classic wedge salad gets a cold weather rewrite here, with bitter radicchio replacing the traditional iceberg lettuce. Not to worry, the gentle roasting, sweet balsamic vinegar dressing, crunchy walnuts, and rich blue cheese help temper the veggie’s natural bite. Get the recipe.
Warm Escarole and Mushroom Salad
As much as it’s “all I want for lunch is soup” season, it’s always good to diversify your belly-warming midday menu. Here, cool winter greens are warmed up with tangy, red wine vinegar-spiked sauteed mushrooms to create a simple, satisfying meal or side dish. Get our Warm Escarole and Mushroom Salad recipe.
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
Cheers to the fact that wintertime salads often mean forgoing the flimsy greens and bulking up on the hearty stuff. This simple compilation calls on crunchy roasted cauliflower and protein-rich chickpeas to deliver a fill-you-up-without-weighing-you-down meal. Get the recipe.
Kale, Butternut Squash, and Farro Salad
Speaking of hearty salads, here, nutty, dense farro offers the perfect base for guilt-free chopped kale and rich, earthy-sweet roasted butternut squash. If you’ve had your fill of farro, this combination works equally well with other winter salad-friendly grains like wheat berry, barley, and quinoa, and millet. Get the recipe.
Moroccan Beet Salad
The shockingly simple combination of cumin, cilantro, garlic, and lemon is the key to taking roasted diced beets from basic veggie to “sign me up for seconds” side salad. Get the recipe.