Salads are not just summer food and, in fact, it is even more important to ensure that your diet contains plenty of nutritious vegetables when the weather gets colder. Salads really can make satisfying and filling meals so here are some tips for winter salad ideas you may like to try.
Make use of seasonal produce
Autumn is harvest time and there are loads of fruits and vegetables at their best. Apples are particularly good and can be used for a range of healthy salads. One idea is to combine chopped apple with rocket, fennel and dried cranberries. Dress the salad with a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar, olive oil and honey.
Squashes and pumpkins are also freely available at this time of year and are lovely cut into chunks, roasted in coconut oil and served on a bed of mixed green leaves.
Add interest with legumes, nuts and seeds
As well as making your salads more interesting, ingredients such as beans, lentils or chickpeas will add protein to your winter salads making them a hearty meal. Unless you are serving them warm, it is important to keep salads at below 5°C which is why restaurants commonly use a saladette counter, such as those available from fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-refrigeration-brands/i-l/interlevin/interlevin-esa900-refrigerated-saladette-counter. According to the Food Standards Agency bacteria generally grow more slowly the colder the temperature.
Sprinkle a few nuts over your salad to add crunchiness and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Remember winter greens
Many salad greens come into their own when the weather grows cooler. Hearty and flavourful greens such as chicory, chard, radicchio or kale can be used either alone or in combination with the usual Iceberg or Romaine lettuce. Winter greens can be massaged with a little oil or wilted so that they become more tender before being added to your salad.
Use cooked grains to add bulk
Grains such as quinoa, rice, bulgur wheat and pearl barley can always be added to a winter salad and will take up the flavours of your dressing really well. As an alternative, pasta can be used to make your salad more hearty. In general, the smaller pasta shapes work best for salads. Probably the easiest and quickest to use is couscous as the instant varieties sold in supermarkets only need boiling water to be added to be cooked.