Soft crumbly cheese, cherry tomatoes that burst with juiciness, crisp lettuce and cucumber tossed with a medley of herbs, crunchy croutons and generous drizzles of creamy dressing. Salads are often the side dish that becomes the main event.
But, in the colder months of winter tucking into a raw assortment of vegetables isn’t always the most appetising option – especially when you’d rather be indulging in comfort foods like mashed potatoes, soup or cheesy garlic bread.
Warm salads sound like a culinary faux pas. However, they can actually be deliciously wholesome and the perfect way to eat seasonal vegetables during flu season when your body needs nourishment most.
From roasted pumpkin and charred corn to seeds to couscous, barley, pasta, potatoes, bacon and smoked fish – the options for warm winter salad are bountiful. Eat them as a side or as the main affair at any time of day.
Warm mushroom salad
By @theurbankitchen on Instagram
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 100g Shimeji mushrooms
- 50g enoki mushrooms
- 2cm ginger, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 2 lime leaves, finely shredded
- 2 tbsp tamari
- Small handful of coriander
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp hot water
Heat a non-stick pan and heat up the oil.
Add the ginger and chilli and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the Shimeji mushrooms and lime leaves and cook for 3 minutes.
Meantime, prepare the dressing by mixing the peanut butter, hot water and lime juice until a thick dressing is formed.
Add the tamari and enoki mushrooms and cook for another minute.
Add the coriander.
Serve immediately with the dressing.
Spiced chickpea salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon each – turmeric, chilli and garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Dash cinnamon and cayenne (to taste)
- 1 can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can organic tomatoes
- Roasted pumpkin
- Toasted pumpkin seeds and massaged kale (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until soft.
Add the garlic, spices, salt, and chickpeas – stir until very fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve warm with roasted pumpkin massaged kale and pumpkin seeds for crunch factor.
Warm Mediterranean salad
By @themilkshedstore on Instagram
For the salad
- 400g new potatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 onion
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- Handful basil, torn
- 200g salad leaves
For the aioli
- 2 egg yolks
- A clove of garlic, crushed
- A teaspoon of Dijon
- Juice of half a lemon
- About 100ml of oil, ideally a mix of veg oil and golden rapeseed, or veg oil and olive oil
For the salsa
- 150g green olives, pitted
- 2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
- 2 red or green chillies, finely chopped
- 3 pickled guindilla chillies if you have them
- A handful each of mint and coriander, chopped
- Juice of a lemon
- Splash of white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- About 50ml olive oil
For the roasted veggies
Heat the oven to 190°.
Put a pan of water on and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife, then drain.
Meanwhile deseed the peppers and cut into large chunks, and peel and slice the onion into wedges.
Place them in a roasting tray with seasoning and a generous glug of olive oil.
Roast for 10 minutes then slice the potatoes in half and add to the peppers along with the tomatoes, toss together and return to the oven for 20 minutes before adding the basil and cooking for a further 5 minutes or until everything is golden and caramelised.
While the veg is roasting make the olive salsa and aioli.
For the aioli
Whisk the yolks, garlic, Dijon and lemon with a good pinch of salt then very slowly add the oils to emulsify.
Taste and add more salt/lemon to balance. Keep it loose
For the salsa
Roughly chop the olives and pickled chillies then combine with all the other ingredients adding the oil at the end until you have a nice moist consistency.
Spread the leaves on a large platter and scatter over the hot roast veg, then top with spoons of salsa and finally drizzle over the aioli.