When it’s chilly outside and we’re hunkering down we aren’t thinking about the crisp, cool salads of spring and summer. We are dreaming of soups, stews and other hearty foods.
But along with January cold comes the national obsession with cutting calories for the first month of the new year to compensate for overindulging during the holidays.
So instead of dining on tiny portions of heavy foods, how about a great big salad that is warmed enough to take off the chill of eating what we usually enjoy as a cold dish.
Sautéed vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli or fruits such as raisins and apples can perk up a chilly salad while adding freshly cooked meats is another way to add warmth to a filling dish that doesn’t have as many calories as mac and cheese, soups or stews.
Bacon is a year-round popular salad ingredient, and in winter its best if you add it when it’s still warm. Steak, shrimp and chicken also can be added while warm, helping to take the chill off the greens. Grains such as quinoa served warm add heartiness as well as protein to a salad, while nuts such as almonds or walnuts can be toasted.
Of course, German potato salad is the original warm salad; even the dressing is served warm.
Sautéing apples and scallions takes the chill off this salad from bessiebakes.com. Add cooked meats to make this a meal.
Crisp Apple Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
5 to 8 ounces fresh mixed salad greens
2 apples peeled and sliced
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 large shallot sliced
3 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon olive oil for shallots and apples
Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved
For the vinaigrette:
1½ tablespoons apple cider
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
salt and pepper
Whisk the apple cider vinegar, whole-grain mustard and maple syrup together. Whisk the 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper until combined. Add the golden raisins to soften and absorb some of the flavor.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and toast the almonds until slightly golden brown. Set aside.
In the same pan heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the sliced shallots and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the sliced apples and warm through, about 1 minute. You don’t want to overcook the apples because they will lose their crispness.
In a large bowl, add the salad greens and toss with the vinaigrette. Top with the golden raisins, apples and shallots, almonds, and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. Season again with salt and pepper again if needed.