Salads are often overshadowed by turkey and mashed potatoes during the holiday season, but there’s no need to shortchange leafy greens and vegetables in the winter. A liberating thought on the salad front: they don’t have to be cold. Warm salads are a great way to add vitamins, nutrients and color to your table, and they offer plenty of leeway for experimenting and using what’s in your pantry. Plus, many are safe to eat for those on chemo.
Dressings don’t have to be heavy — a drizzle of your favorite vinegar or lemon juice, plus some good olive oil and sea salt, is often enough. The warm vegetables will absorb all their favor. We’ve made some suggestions, but experiment with new flavors. Try sprinkling hazelnut or walnut oil on top of roasted or steamed vegetables for added flavor that is both subtle but powerful. Add protein to your veggie salads by garnishing them with toasted nuts, like sunflower seeds and almonds, or with hazelnuts or walnuts, if you are trying those oils. Warm salads are versatile, too. They can be a delicious main dish or a tasty, healthy side for grilled chicken or fish. They can also make great toppings for brown rice, quinoa, and even for whole-wheat pasta.
A few antioxidant-rich ideas to get you started:
- Shredded and sauteed Brussels sprouts with mustard vinaigrette
- Oven-roasted winter squash with toasted pumpkin seeds tossed in a vinaigrette
- Sauteed kale or rainbow chard with chickpeas, feta cheese, and a lemon juice vinaigrette
- Roasted or boiled beets with wilted spinach, pomegranate seeds, and goat or blue cheese with balsamic vinaigrette
- Roasted baby carrots with toasted cumin seeds
- Steamed veggies (turnips, carrots, green beans, etc) tossed with parsley and a sesame vinaigrette