Meals Made Easy: Warm Winter Salad

Does your fruit and veggie intake plummet during the cold months? Yeah, me too! And I find that this time of year I especially need veggies to counterbalance the uptick in comfort foods and sweet treats. After finding myself in a state of culinary sloth post-holiday, I was determined to up my veggie intake and have found bliss in warm winter salads. When I served this salad (which I now eat daily, sometimes twice daily!) during a recent design consult with Paige, she said, “YOU MUST POST THIS RECIPE!” So here goes.

You can tailor the salad to use up odds and ends in your fridge (much like the butler's salad) but for my go-to warm winter salad, you will need:

  1. A bed of greens. Pick your poison but I recommend spinach. A big heaping pile.
  2. Roasted vegetables. I recommend roasting a large pan of your favorite vegetables (e.g., my favorites = creamer potatoes and brussels sprouts) on Sunday so you can quickly heat up in small batches through the week. I toss my veggies with olive oil and magic salt and roast for about a half hour at 375 degrees. The seasoning negates the need for salad dressing.
  3. A legume. I like a good protein hit and chick peas add a nice texture contrast. I'm a fan of Trader Joe's chick pea salad (Balala). Like the roasted veggies, the marinade negates the need for salad.
  4. Meat (if you eat it). I love the breaded chicken tenders from Trader Joe's (freezer section). I use 1-2 pieces per salad depending on size. Again, the flavor of this item negates the need for salad dressing. If you're counting calories, you could use boiled or grilled chicken instead.
  5. Color contrast foods. Food is more appealing when it's colorful! Add halved grape tomatoes. Pomegranate seeds also add color with a nutritional boost.

To pull it all together in 10 minutes: Cook chicken tenders in toaster oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, use a small skillet to heat up roasted vegetables. When they're almost heated through (3-4 minutes), toss in a tablespoon of the chick pea salad + halved grape tomatoes. Place a large bed of greens on a plate and top with  vegetables + chicken (cut into chunks). Garnish with pomegranate if you have it; otherwise, eat as is. Enjoy!

Image credits: Christine Koh