I realized something funny recently. Long after I started branching out into seasonal fruits and vegetables, my salads remained stuck in the rut of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions. Sure, the lettuce had morphed into “mesclun mix” and the tomatoes had turned into heirlooms, but it took some time before my insistence upon seasonal produce progressed into my salad bowl.
It hit me that when I defaulted to my comfort zone in colder months the cost was a triple whammy: the taste wasn’t that inspiring (virtually none of the ingredients were in season, which means that they were being shipped from afar and likely of a variety that was bred more for durability than for taste), it took a heavy toll on the environment (with the miles those ingredients traveled, I could rack up a free airline ticket) and it was expensive (have you ever noticed how expensive cucumbers are outside of summer?).
When I finally started to toss together more seasonal options, my world opened up . . . as it tends to do when you “limit” yourself to what’s available locally or what’s in your CSA box. Here’s a list of ingredients to inspire you while the weather is still chilly, along with an example that’s become a winter staple on our table. Try a few mix and matches, throw in a crumble of cheese or toasted nuts, and play around with different dressings. Most of all, enjoy!
Winter Salad Ingredients
- Bitter greens like escarole, frisée (a type of escarole), radicchio, etc.
- Celery (if you can find locally grown celery—or grow your own—do . . . you’ll be amazed by how flavorful and fresh it is)
- Citrus (like blood oranges or grapefruit)
- Roasted squash and root vegetables