Warm Winter Salads
We love this description of winter salads…”they are the cozier, cardigan-wearing cousins of summer salads.” With baked salads you can eat warm and cozy without having to give up the crunch and variety of flavors and textures of an enjoyable and nutritious salad. Baked salads hold up well and can be prepped on the weekend for your lunch salads throughout the week! In fact, they get better as the flavors have the opportunity to meld. Add a couple of handfuls of roasted greens with some whole grains and legumes and you have complete nutrition in with an unending variety of flavors and textures.
Whether you opt for a classic vinaigrette, a balsamic, a creamy dressing or something unique and robust, high quality oils and vinegars from vomFASS Madison will add healthy joy and diversity to your meals as you continue to make good and nutritious choices for your health. Check out the recipes below.
While root veggies and cauliflower may get their names listed first on the winter salad roster, much of the nutrition lies within these powerhouses…
There's a reason you hear so much about eating dark leafy greens. Vegetables such as kale, chard, collard greens, arugula and spinach are bursting with nourishing health benefits. Their nutrient-dense dark leafy greens are jam-packed with healthy plant-based compounds, plus lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber, with just 10 to 25 calories per half-cup serving. Hearty greens have the added benefit of being cold tolerant and may still be found growing locally on farms with greenhouses.
Whole grains and legumes are among nature’s most complete health foods. They are bursting with complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, micronutrients and even have a little unsaturated fat. Nutritionally speaking, however, most grains and legumes (beans) do not have a complete set of essential amino acids for humans. However, when combined, their complimentary profiles can provide a complete plant-based protein array. Generally, a ratio of grains to legumes for complete complimentary proteins is 3:1 (e.g., 1 cup whole grains to 1/3 cup beans).
Together greens, grains and legumes make a great team, especially in a hearty winter salad. Greens have flair, while grains and legumes are no-frills. Grains and legumes offer substance while greens add color and texture. Greens shrink when cooked, grains and legumes plump up. Even better, greens and grains make a nutritious but delicious dynamic trio. Their complementary flavors provide comfort food with a complete nutritional package—proteins, carbs, and healthy fats along with dozens of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They become the stage upon which other vegetables and a supporting cast of seasonings and sauces can intermingle to create a kaleidoscope of changing flavors.
Creating the perfect baked salad bowl involves combining a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients. Too few ingredients and it could get boring; too many and the bowl gets crowded and confusing. While there is no one recipe for a Super Bowl, here's a guide to building a delicious and nutritious baked salad bowl...
Start with a base of roasted greens! This is the time for sturdier greens to shine, like kale, chard, cabbage, escarole or larger spinach leaves. Roasting greens allows for caramelization and the development of a rich roasted flavor. They fill you up with fewer calories. For a crispy texture, greens should be tossed (very) lightly with olive oil, spread on a baking without overcrowding, and placed in an already hot (400-425F) oven. The time for roasting depends on the greens (10-20 minutes). Overcrowding or lower temperatures lead to greens being steamed rather than roasted.
select a variety of colorful vegetables for roasting. Common choices include:
-carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips all add a hearty, sweet element
-Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbages, to name a few, all add nutty, savory flavors.
-sliced or cubed winter squash like delicata, butternut, and acorn bring great sweet texture, while zucchini lends earthy sweet notes
-colorful sweet peppers add sweet and smoky piquancy
-caramelized onions add a sweet base flavor
cooked grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, farro, bulgur, kamut, barley, or amaranth. Whole grains are easy to change up and try something new. Can also be roasted after cooking for a nutty flavor and texture. They provide carbohydrates and proteins. You can cook your whole grains with your baked salad in mind, or your baked salad can be the way you use up leftover quinoa or rice.
cooked legumes such as chickpeas lentils, black beans, and kidney beans add protein
whether a simple vinaigrette or creamier dressing, drizzle over salad just before serving. The fats in the dressing increase the nutrient absorption from the vegetables. Toss gently to combine all ingredients.
Avocado slices, nut/seeds, cheese, olives, herbs, dried or diced fruit. Grilled meats, tofu or cooked eggs can be added for extra protein. Toppings can subtracted, or multiplied to change flavors and textures.
Baked Salad with Winter Romesco
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