Kid-Friendly Warm, Healthy Winter Salad Recipe

As I scrolled through social media in December, I noticed a common theme. I saw friend after friend posting that they were struggling to eat vegetables in the winter.

So, it’s not just me!

I had been in a veggie funk too. All of my usual favorites just didn’t sound appealing. Some days a pile of avocado chunks was the only “vegetable” I could manage for lunch.

Here’s the thing – when it comes to eating healthy, listening to your body is one of the best things you can do!

Warm Winter Salad

So if your usual vegetables aren’t appealing, you have to figure out what your body is telling you. I’m going to help you do just that.

Eating Healthy in the Winter

It’s a modern convenience to be able to purchase just about any vegetable you want year-round. It wasn’t too long ago that in the winter you could only eat whatever vegetables you preserved or that you harvested and kept in cold storage.

So if you look at it from the perspective of what’s natural, we were not really meant to eat spring veggies all winter long. It makes sense then that they wouldn’t appeal to us in the winter. It’s totally understandable to pass on cucumbers and asparagus right now!

healthy winter salad

Even though modern refrigeration and transportation have made it possible to eat whatever we want at any time, winter is really a great time to focus on meat and some heartier vegetables. Our bodies were meant to eat what’s in season. So go ahead and listen to your body!

Which Vegetables Should We Eat in the Winter?

Thankfully the fall offers a plethora of nourishing vegetables that store well for winter. And in many regions, some of these can be grown and harvested throughout the winter. They include:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • rutabaga
  • kohlrabi
  • squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • beets
  • pumpkin
  • turnips
  • leeks
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • celery
girl chopping winter vegetables

While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the most common winter vegetables. And it’s a wonderful list! Are you getting hungry for vegetables just reading through it?

Winter Vegetable Salad

Cold food in the winter is often not very appealing. The body is working hard enough to stay warm. Adding in cold food just makes it harder. So generally vegetables are served warm in the winter – steamed, roasted, sauteed, etc.

But even that can get boring quickly. My solution? Change it up with a warm winter salad!

This healthy winter salad combines in-season roasted vegetables with whatever greens you like and a warm dressing. The heat from the vegetables and dressing wilts the greens to make them easier to digest as well. It’s the perfect way to wake up your taste buds and add some essential minerals to your diet.

You can follow the recipe exactly or make it your own with your favorite winter veggies. Not a fan of greens or can’t find any in the winter? Leave them out. You really can’t go wrong!

And don’t forget to let your kids help chop all those veggies!

Get more winter veggie inspiration with these seasonal, winter salad recipes:

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Warm Winter Salad

Kid-Friendly Warm Winter Salad Recipe

  • Author: Mary Voogt, NTP (Contributing Writer)
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roast
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

A simple, warm salad loaded with winter vegetables.


Ingredients

UnitsScale

Dressing:

  • 4 Tbs. honey
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. mustard
  • 2/3 c. avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)

Salad:

  • 8 c. winter vegetables to roast, cut in bite-size pieces (pictured are squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and beets. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips are great options as well.)
  • 6 c. chopped greens (whatever you like/is in season. Pictured are beet greens and rainbow chard)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil (or other healthy fat for roasting)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • optional: 1 avocado, cut in chunks
  • optional: 1 c. cooked and crumbled bacon and/or chopped nuts

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Instructions

Dressing (make just before you are ready to assemble the salad):

  1. In a small saucepan combine the honey, vinegar, and mustard.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the mayonnaise and salt.
  4. Keep warm until ready to pour on salad.

Salad:

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place chopped vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Stir to coat.
  3. Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the desired doneness.
  4. In a large bowl combine the chopped greens and half of the warm dressing. Toss to coat and wilt greens.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables and the other half of the dressing. Toss to coat.
  6. Add avocado, bacon, and/or nuts and gently toss.
  7. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. If your kids aren’t fans of greens you can leave them out. Just eat the roasted vegetables with the warm dressing.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 262
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Sodium: 833mg
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg

Keywords: seasonal recipe, winter vegetables

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healthy vegetable salad

Why You Crave Carbs in the Winter

As I mentioned earlier, colder weather means your body has to work harder to stay warm. This requires extra energy. And energy comes from food!

What is the quickest source of energy? Carbohydrates!

Add to that the stress of the holidays (shopping, baking, parties, excess sugar, family dynamics,…). It adds up quickly! Stress equates to:

  • mineral depletion
  • oxidative stress
  • adrenal exhaustion
  • fatigue

When your adrenals are run down, carbohydrates are actually a great source of fuel as you are less likely to be able to effectively break down fats for energy.

warm winter salad

It makes sense that you are more likely to reach for a piece of bread than a celery stick in the winter. Especially towards the end of December!

Real Food in the Winter With a Healthy Salad

Thankfully there are many healthy forms of carbohydrates – like winter vegetables!!

While we don’t always feel like eating nourishing foods in the winter, it really is important for the whole family.

A healthy winter salad will provide essential minerals, such as magnesium, copper, sodium, and potassium. Minerals are the foundation of good health.

This warm winter salad is also very kid-friendly! So it’s perfect for the whole family. The naturally sweetened dressing coats the crispy roasted veggies. It’s perfect for any veggie-hesitant kid. My three-year-old devoured his salad before touching anything else on his plate!

The leftovers (if there are any) are great the next day as well for an easy lunch. Just add some protein and you’re done! A few nourishing protein options include:

  • bacon
  • chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • chopped nuts
  • roasted chicken or turkey
  • diced ham
  • ground beef

Eating vegetables in the winter may not be as easy as in the summer when fresh produce abounds. But it’s totally doable all winter long. This warm winter salad is a great starting point to get your taste buds back on track after the holiday stress and sugar-buzz are over.

Does your family struggle to eat vegetables in the winter? Have you tried salads in the winter?

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