This winter salad, topped with roasted pears and savory sweet potatoes, includes goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and a tasty champagne vinaigrette. Top it with grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, or salmon to make it an entree.
Salad might be one of my favorite foods.
Now, when we’re talking about favorite food status, I’m not talking about the kind of salad that’s some iceberg lettuce with a little cucumber and shredded carrots…
That kind of salad is fine as a side dish at a restaurant.
I’m talking about salads that combine unexpected combinations of ingredients that are bursting with flavor!
Salads like this one.
I called it a winter salad because I don’t usually take the time to roast vegetables during the summer.
But these flavors would be amazing any time of year!
Instead of roasting the sweet potatoes, try throwing them on the grill.
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What is a Winter Salad?
What exactly is a winter salad?
It’s a salad that uses ingredients more commonly found during cold weather months.
For instance, try using hardier greens like kale, fennel, chard, shaved brussels sprouts, or cabbage as the base.
Or add seasonal ingredients like roasted root vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, red onions, or parsnips.
These salads can be made more robust by adding grains like quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, or even lentils.
While tomatoes and berries are popular in summer salads like these, try using citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits during the winter.
Apples, pears, and pomegranates are some other fruit options that are more easily found during cold weather months.
Is it Okay to Eat a Salad in Winter?
Is it okay to eat salad during winter?
When I was doing some research about the concept of a winter salad, that was one of the questions that popped up.
So I guess some people may wonder.
Let’s just say that if it’s wrong to eat salad during the winter, then I don’t want to be right!
After all, salads are an amazing way to get lots of healthy veggies into our bodies.
Ingredients Used to Make This Salad
You don’t need anything fancy to make this salad.
All of these ingredients were in my local grocery store.
This recipe includes baby arugula and baby kale, pears, sweet potatoes, red onions, pomegranate, walnuts, and goat cheese.
I know, those baby greens might not be hardy, but I love them, so that’s what I used!
Tips for Making a Salad with Roasted Vegetables
I love topping salads with roasted vegetables.
The roasting process caramelizes the veggies and really amplifies their flavor.
You can get all my tips for making savory roasted sweet potatoes over here.
When I make a batch of roasted vegetables, I love making a double batch and having half with dinner, then saving the other half to go on top of salads.
I chose to poach the pears for this salad in Riesling because I wanted them to be a little softer.
If you prefer your pears crisp, you can skip this step, although I really love the extra flavor they got from the wine!
I recommend prepping the pears first and baking them while you assemble the other ingredients.
Can You Make This Salad in Advance?
I don’t recommend assembling this salad in advance because the greens will become wilted.
However, you can prep the ingredients so the salad is easy to assemble when it’s time to serve.
For years, I was so intimidated by whole pomegranates.
I spent way too much money buying those cups of pomegranate arils.
How about you?
Let me tell you, they’re so easy to prepare!
This time of year you can often get 2 pomegranates for $4 which is a fraction of the cost of those cups.
Simply cut the pomegranate into quarters, then use your fingers or a grapefruit spoon to remove the arils.
You’ll use the arils from about half a pomegranate for this salad.
Put the rest of the arils in an airtight container to enjoy later!
Some of the juice might splatter a little, and the juice will stain, so don’t wear white while doing this prep work…
I buy whole walnuts in bulk from Costco and store them in the freezer to keep them fresh.
You can use whole walnuts in this salad if you prefer, but I like to chop them coarsely so you can get a perfect bite of this tasty salad: a bite with a little bit of each ingredient.
When you serve this salad you can serve it all tossed together in a large bowl.
It looks so pretty on a dinner table or a buffet.
Don’t forget some crusty bread.
If you’re hosting a luncheon or a dinner party, try plating the salad for a really pretty presentation.
No matter how you serve the salad, be sure to serve the dressing on the side.
That helps the salad to hold up longer and minimizes the greens becoming wilted.
If you have leftover salad, store it in a container like this one for up to three days.
What Kind of Dressing is Best on a Winter Salad?
The best salad dressing for a winter salad really depends on the ingredients and flavors in that salad.
This salad is amazing with a lightly sweet dressing like my Pear Champagne Vinaigrette.
It would also be good with this sweet keto vinaigrette.
More Delicious Salad Ideas and Recipes
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