Salads for Fall and Winter

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sweetpotato-salad-largeJust because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating salads! It’s easy and fun to “winter over” your salads — so that you can include amazingly colorful fall and winter produce that’s also healing for your body in the colder months.

Try these tips to add a warm component to your greens and hit your salad up with some serious gourmet flair.

Next week I’ll be touring what I call the “salad capitol” of the US, Earthbound Farm in San Juan Bautista, California to see where heartier salad greens (ideal for colder weather) are born and raised.

So stay tuned for more delicious ways to spin your greens and test out these yummy fall and winter salads for everyday meals or even elegant seasonal entertaining!

Honeyed Carrot Salad

carrot-walnut-saladYou’ll find farmer market carrots well into fall and they pair wonderfully with tasty salad toppings that have chew and crunch — like dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. Start with a base of baby kale or mixed baby greens (that contain beet greens, romaine, or frisee). Warm 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a small skillet. Add 2 cups peeled, thinly sliced carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook 2 to 3 minutes and add a teaspoon of honey and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Toss 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red or green cabbage over your salad greens, then add a tablespoon of chopped toasted walnuts and cranberries. Nuts are grounding, filling food that are high in a wide array of essential minerals that most people are lacking. Don’t worry about their high-calorie load, just limit the amount to around 10 small nuts a day or follow this comprehensive guide.

Pancetta Blue Cheese Salad

pancetta-saladTrying to get a meat lover to eat more greens? Here’s the ticket! Add two tablespoons chopped pancetta to a small skillet with 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and a teaspoon olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring well, until the pancetta is well browned. Toss over baby spinach, kale, beets greens or even mesclun greens. Top with a few tablespoons crumbled blue cheese and serve. Assorted greens have an enormous amount of nutrients, in particular vitamin A, vitamin C, and copper that you will need for cooler weather to safe-guard your skin and maintain collagen production, boost immunity, and keep your metabolism on track.

Balsamic Orange Salad

balsamic-orange-saladMake a luscious balsamic reduction that you can use for weeks to come over any of your favorite salad greens or cooked veggies. Turn on a kitchen fan and be sure the kitchen is well ventilated. Place 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan, and simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture reduced by half (12 to 15 minutes) and resembles a loose syrup (it will thicken as it cooks). Cut the peel from the orange and thinly slice. Toss it over baby greens that include cabbage or kale. Add a few tablespoons of olives and drizzle with a tablespoon of the balsamic reduction and olive oil, then serve. Cabbage and kale are both bursting with everyday nutrients plus loads of antioxidants and cancer fighting sulfur compounds, making them the #1 detox food and a must-have for your fall and winter shopping list. Kale is especially important for liver and brain health and can be cooked in hundreds of ways.

Sweet Potato Crisps with Goji Cherry Salad

sweet-potato-saladSweet potato is a quintessential fall food, naturally fat-free yet rich tasting. When I have a fry craving, sweet potato crisped in a healthy fat (like olive oil or coconut oil) does the trick. I use an inexpensive Japanese Mandoline veggie slicer to thinly shred or slice raw sweet potato so there is no pre-steaming necessary. Slice or shred 1 peeled sweet potato and toss with two tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and one egg. Working in batches, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Drop the sweet potato mixture into the skillet in mounds and press down with a fork. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then flip, cooking 3 minutes more until crisp. Repeat with remaining sweet potato shreds. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Toss 2 to 3 over the greens of your choice and top with a tablespoon of goji berries, cherries, and cashews (save the remaining sweet potato crisps for a snack). Drizzle with a tablespoon of your favorite vinegar and enjoy! Soothing sweet potato can fill you up with less calories and give you high doses of beta carotene that turns to Vitamin A in your body for bright healthy eyes and improve immune function.

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