Well, if you’ve ever doubted the credibility and taste of salads, winter is the time to change the way you look at them. You may think salads as summer food, because the idea of salad is mostly cucumber and onion, but it is not so. Winter offers a plethora of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and agricultural produce that let you create some amazing salad recipes which are not just healthy, but can be consumed as a complete meal as they are loaded with proteins and good fats.
“People have this misconception that salads should be cool and consumed in summer for a detox, but you can do so much with salads and that makes them ideal for winter. You can mix lettuce with chicken, experiment with quinoa and leafy vegetables, make a protein-rich salad with paneer or tofu or create a mouthwatering salad with interesting dressings. The best thing is that you can have salads as main course too, especially in winter when you can mix the right amount of citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts and meat,” says Deepa Mathur, city-based home chef who specialises in salads and dressings.
Oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, cauliflowers, radish, spinach, tomatoes are some of the seasonal produce that make for great salad ingredients. However, if you want to add more twist, go for kale, quinoa, granula, sesame, fennel, chia seeds, honey, feta cheese etc to make it more palatable and healthy.
Kolkata-based food and health blogger Ritwick Choudhury says that there are also some salad recipes that require you to cook and roast them, hence making them tastier. “Roasted Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad with Citrus, Beetroot Salad with Boiled Eggs, Caesar Salad with a meat variant, Greek Salad with Paneer etc are some of the best options to have now. The ingredients are fresh and help keep you warm. If you love veggies, boil them and make a tasty salad by adding olive oil and herbs. If you want to save time and don’t want to go for a fancy dressing, use flavoured or plain yoghurt, and your salad will taste delicious,” he says.
Orange, Pomegranate Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
For the dressing
- Olive oil.....1/4 cup
- Orange zest.....1 tbsp
- Orange juice.....2 tbsp
- Rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.....2 tbsp
- Mustard sauce.....2 tsp
- Buttermilk.....2 tbsp
- Onion, minced.....1 tbsp
- Rosemary, minced......1/2 tsp
- Sea salt.....1/4 tsp
For the salad
- Spinach 1 large bunch
- Oranges or other sweet-tasting citrus fruit......3
- Pomegranate, large.....1
- Onion, sliced paper thin.....1/2
- Fresh rosemary leaves and sprigs for garnishing ......1 tbsp
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- To make the dressing, one at a time, whisk orange zest, juice, vinegar, mustard and buttermilk into olive oil.
- Add onion, rosemary, and sea salt. Set aside while you prepare salad.
- Cut every top and bottom of the oranges. Carefully slice off peel, removing white pith while sparing as much flesh as possible. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Wash and chop the spinach and pour most of the dressing over the spinach. Turn with fingers to coat.
- Spread the spinach on a large platter and tuck oranges throughout. Scatter with pomegranate arils and onion. Finish with a final drizzle of the dressing, a scattering of rosemary leaves, a pinch of sea salt, and several twists of fresh pepper.
(Recipe by Rick Chatterjee, chef and owner, Eat & Treat Food Truck, New Delhi)
Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese, Eggs, Pomegranate and Almonds
- Beets, peels on, greens removed, scrubbed clean......675 gm
- Vegetable oil.....1 tbsp/15ml
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Toasted almonds, roughly chopped.....1/4 cup or 70 gm
- Honey.....1 tbsp/15ml
- Sherry vinegar.....1 tbsp or 15ml
- Onion, finely minced.....1 tbsp
- Extra-virgin olive oil.....3 tbsp or 45ml
- Pomegranate seeds.....1/2 cup
- White onions, finely sliced.....2 small / about 1/2 cup
- Goat cheese.....110 gm
- Hard-boiled eggs, quartered.....2 to 3
- Leaves from the centre of 1 head of celery.....1/2 cup
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Fold a 12x24-inch sheet of aluminum foil in half to form a square.
- Crimp two edges to form a pouch. Toss the beet in vegetable oil, and add salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until coated.
- Add to pouch and crimp remaining edge to seal. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.
- Roast for about one-and-a-half hour until the beet is completely tender and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the beet through foil shows little to no resistance. Remove the beet from oven and allow to cool.
- Mix almonds, honey, vinegar, and shallots in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle olive oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
- When the beet is cool enough to handle, peel by gently rubbing skin under cold running water. Cut beet into one-and-a-half-inch chunks.
- Toss beet, pomegranate, onion and dressing together in a large bowl. Transfer to a plate.
- Garnish with goat cheese, boiled eggs, and celery leaves. Serve immediately.
(Recipe by Gauri Shah, who runs an online salad subscription business in and around Pune)