However, winter makes finding fresh local greens and the standard cucumber + tomato combination next to impossible or really, really expensive [both in transport and in purchase].
Yet I love and crave salads and have come to anticipate each season's special twist. So here are three of my favorite winter-friendly salads I make more than I care to admit.
I encourage you to drop into a winter Farmer's Market or find a local farm with a winter CSA option available, stock up on these veggies, and enjoy warm salads all winter long. I like to make these in the full batches and save for easy lunch options. All three also make fantastic sides for holiday celebrations.
This is the dressing you will use on all of the salads below.
1 part extra virgin olive oil [1/2 cup is a good place to start]
1 - 2 T. raw local honey or maple syrup [adjust to taste]
2 - 3 tsp. gluten-free Dijon mustard [adjust to taste]
large pinch or two of sea salt
Place all ingredients in a glass jar and seal with tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously for a minute or so until all of the ingredients have been incorporated.
[WARM BEET SALAD]
1 large beet - washed, peeled [optional if using organic beets], cubed
1 large carrot - washed, peeled [optional if using organic beets], sliced
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
small handful [about 2 T.] cashews - slightly crushed and toasted*
2 - 3 T. dressing [recipe shown above], adjust to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the chopped beets and sliced carrots on a stone or parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all pieces are covered in oil. Place in preheated oven and roast for 10 - 15 minutes or until vegetables are just soft.
Remove from oven, spread onto plate or bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of dressing. Sprinkle with toasted cashews and serve warm.
[WARM BROCCOLI + KALE + WHITE BEAN SALAD]
Adapted from Whole Living Magazine: Issue No. 73 / January-February 2013, p. 51
Serves 4 - 6
3 c. broccoli, stalk + leaves + florets, rinsed and cut into chunks
1 large bunch of Lacinato or favorite kale variety, washed and chopped
3 c. white beans, soaked and cooked
1/2 c. chopped parsley [if available]
1/3 c. toasted sunflower seeds*
2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 - 1/3 c. dressing [recipe shown above], adjust to taste
Steam cut broccoli stalk[s], leaves, and florets until bright green and just soft but still a bit crunchy [about 3 - 5 minutes]. In a large cast iron skillet, saute kale in 1 T. of the olive oil over medium-high heat until the kale is bright green and just soft. Place broccoli in a large food processor and pulse to chop into small pieces. Place into a large glass bowl and repeat with the kale and parsley. Place with chopped broccoli, cover, and set aside. In same large cast iron skillet pour in remaining 1 T. olive oil and bring to just hot. Carefully add beans, toss and let sit a minute or so. Stir and repeat. Beans should begin to brown on edges. Remove from heat and add to bowl with broccoli, kale, and parsley. Add toasted sunflower seeds and dressing and gently toss it all together adding more dressing if necessary. Serve warm.
[WARM KASHA SALAD]
Adapted from Delicious Living Magazine: November 2013 Issue, p. 34
Serves 4 - 6
6 cups of loosely packed arugula, rinsed and spun or patted dry
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. sliced celery [may be available at Farmer's Market into November] - rinsed and sliced
1 large or 2 small kohlrabi - rinsed, peeled, and chopped
2 large radishes - rinsed and chopped
1 - 2 medium-large carrots - rinsed, quartered, and sliced
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. hulled, gluten-free buckwheat groats or kasha [soaked for 4 - 6 hours, drained, and rinsed]
4 c. pure water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds, toasted*
1/2 - 3/4 c. dressing [recipe shown above], adjust to taste
Roasted white or garbanzo beans ["Mildly Spicy" recipe], optional
In a medium sized stainless steel saucepan bring 4 c. water to boil. Add salt and soaked buckwheat groats. Cook for 7 - 10 minutes or until just soft. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, rinse briefly with cold water, place in glass serving bowl, cover and set aside. In a large cast iron skillet place oil and onion. Bring to sizzle and then reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just transparent. Add celery and carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add kohlrabi and radishes and cook another few minutes or until vegetables are just soft and warm but remain crunchy. Remove from heat and add to cooked buckwheat. Sprinkle in toasted pumpkin seeds, dressing, and stir until well mixed. Place about 1 cup of arugula on 6 plates [or simply in a large serving bowl] and top with a large scoop of the warm kasha salad. Garnish with roasted white or garbanzo beans [optional] and serve warm.
*To toast nuts or seeds: If you have a toaster oven, spread nuts or seeds out on a baking sheet. Using the "Toast: 1" or lowest setting, cook until beeper goes off. If you are using a skillet: place nuts or seeds in skillet and bring heat to high. Toss continuously until nuts / seeds become slightly browned, adjusting heat as necessary. If you are using an oven: place nuts / seeds on baking sheet and place in 300 degree preheated oven. Watch carefully and remove when they are slightly browned or smell really nutty.