Some people assume that getting a variety of quality vegetables during the winter months is impossible. However, produce can be grown all year round—yes, even the dreariest season provides an abundance of wonderful veggies and fruits.
Not every holiday party needs an abundance of roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. Another option for utilizing bright and colorful produce is delicious salads! Chopping up root vegetables, adding dried fruits and nuts, and even stirring in quinoa or lentils to a salad make great healthy alternatives when attending, or hosting, a party.
What’s in Season?
Before heading to the supermarket, it’s important to know what produce is in season. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) is a great resource for learning what’s in season, and when. They offer seasonality charts for vegetables and fruits that show when all the different types of produce are in season and prime for picking.
Many vegetables are in season year-round or throughout the majority of fall and into spring. Fruits, on the other hand, are more seasonal and few are available year-round. For easy reference, the best vegetables and fruit to buy during the winter are:
- Broccoli Rabe/Rapini
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
Before you go to the grocery store to pick up some of this produce, here are our favorite winter-weather salad recipes. While these recipes are great solo, take any of them to a holiday party as a healthy addition to the buffet table.
Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale Chips and Pomegranate Seeds
Try this Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale Chips and Pomegranate Seeds from Saveur next time you want something colorful for the table. Baked kale, roasted squash and arugula paired with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds makes for a bright and delicious salad. Toss the mixture with the dijon-maple salad dressing and you’ll be thinking about this salad for weeks to come.
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
Eating during the holiday season usually means consuming quite a few hearty, rich dishes, so this Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette from Once Upon a Chef is a great green option. This super easy recipe has you roast the beets in the oven, then toss them with a honey-dijon dressing and mixed greens—it’s sure to be a hit at the neighborhood party!
Brown Rice Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, Mint and Feta
If you’re looking for a warm salad for a cozy gathering with friends, this Brown Rice Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, Mint and Feta from Food & Wine is a great choice. The cranberries, walnuts and feta can be added to the rice when it’s freshly cooked, or if you ever have leftover brown rice in the fridge, make this salad for a quick and easy lunch.
Warm Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad with Coconut Tzatziki
Next time you want a hearty salad to be the center dish at a party, make this Warm Lentil And Root Vegetable Salad With Coconut Tzatziki from Food & Wine. Lentils and carrots are the base of this delicious winter salad, and not only is it filling, it’s also packed with healthy fats.
Thanks to these awesome salad recipes and winter vegetable recommendations, you’ll be able to eat healthily and seasonally. For a well-rounded meal, try pairing a hot soup with a salad, especially on chilly days. For soup inspiration, check out these six guilt-free soups—pairing one of these with our salad recommendations makes for the perfect combination.