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Winter Salads That Are Anything But Boring

19 January 2017
by Giada De Laurentiis
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These hearty combos of root veggies, legumes, grains, and winter greens will tide you over until tomato season.

In the spring, when the produce aisles are bursting with tender lettuces, peas, asparagus, favas, and leeks, eating your greens is easy. In the winter, it can be more of a challenge. There's less variety to work with and our bodies are more inclined to crave braised meats and cheesy casseroles.
But we can't subsist on stews alone! And there are actually plenty of hardy, nutrient-packed greens in season right now: Kale, collards, escarole, chard, and mustards. Pair them with grains and legumes like quinoa, farro, barley, lentils, and black beans and you have the makings of a substantial, satisfying meal. Nuts and cheeses are another great way to add some heft, while lemon zest, dried fruits, and fresh herbs lend brightness and another layer of flavor.

When eaten raw, some winter greens can be a bit chewy, but there are ways to get around that. For starters, if there are ribs, remove them. Then slice your greens into thin ribbons rather than tearing them into big pieces as you would with more tender greens. A good trick is to roll up a stack of leaves cigar-fashion, and then slice across the bundle. You can also soften your greens by letting them sit with a bit of olive oil and salt or by massaging the dressing into the greens. A warm vinaigrette will also help soften the greens – and you can always roast the leaves in the oven!

It's also worth noting that winter's dark, leafy greens tend to hold up in the fridge longer, so make a big batch for dinner tonight and you've got tomorrow's lunch in the bag.


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