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Anna Watson Carl

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6 Healthy Winter Salads... Hold the Lettuce

Posted: 02/ 1/2012 5:20 pm

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I'm a salad gal. I love 'em. They're versatile, virtuous (theoretically), and chock full of vegetables. They're also the world's quickest meal: just add your ingredients to a bowl and toss with a vinaigrette. Easy. But in the winter, I don't exactly crave a big pile of lettuce. I want a heartier salad -- one with a little more texture, more color, and a lot of flavor. A lunch or dinner type of salad.

(Scroll down for recipes!)

This winter I've been experimenting with all sort of healthy, wintry salad combinations sans lettuce: shaved Brussels Sprouts with Red Cabbage and Pine Nuts, Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale, Roasted Fennel with Quinoa and Pomegranate Seeds, and Spinach with Cara Cara Oranges and Roasted Chicken. I love layering roasted vegetables with a cooked grain (like quinoa or farro or bulgur) and fresh herbs and raw greens, like spinach or arugula. Or making a salad that I can pick up, by topping toasted flatbread with lemony avocado spread and shaved veggies. Basically, the more colorful, the better.

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Of course, planning ahead helps. At the beginning of the week, I try and cook up some sort of protein (either organic chicken, wild salmon, or a hearty grain like quinoa) to have on hand. I make sure I have plenty of greens, like kale, spinach, or arugula, and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, avocados, radicchio, or fennel. Sometimes, I'll buy pre-shredded veggies (usually carrots, red cabbage, zucchini, and radishes), beans, and grains from the Whole Foods salad bar, which makes it super-easy to whip up a salad at home. And this time of year, with the citrus fruits at their peak, I try to stock up on lemons, oranges, and grapefruit - all excellent in salads.

In the pantry, I keep plenty of nuts, dried and canned beans, and of course extra virgin olive oil and lots of different vinegars (white balsamic is one of my favorites). That way, when I come home and want to throw something together quickly, there are easy, healthy options available.

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But best of all, after eating any of these salads, you'll feel like a million bucks. Jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants -- and healthy fats that will leave you satisfied, but not stuffed -- the six salads below will give you loads of energy. You won't even miss the lettuce. Promise!

6 Healthy Winter Salad Recipes (click on the links below for recipes)

 

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