During the cool weather months, it’s hard to stay motivated to eat salad. Here are a dozen winter salad recipes that are as appealing to look at as they are delicious.
The naturally vegan winter salads presented here use ingredients that are readily available in the cooler months. Some have warm elements in them; some contain seasonal fruit. Many are hearty enough to be main dishes, and all can be easily completed with another simple dish or a soup when you want a larger meal.
Quinoa and Red Bean Salad with Mini Sweet Peppers: An ideal centerpiece for a meal, this quinoa salad is great served with fruit for lunch and soup for dinner. The ingredients used make it a perfect choice for cooler weather, but you can certainly enjoy it any time of year. Extra eye appeal comes from the mini sweet peppers, which you can find in the produce department of well-stocked markets.
Spinach and Mango Salad with Cranberries and Cashews: This salad might be super simple — practically all the ingredients are in the title — but it’s lovely to look at and even better to taste. Mangos are often quite good in the winter, when you need something on the plate to perk up carb-heavy (and beige-y) meals. This takes minutes to toss together and adds vivid color to the plate.
Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado:More mango! I’m not the first person, nor will I be the last, to present the classic black bean and mango salad on a food blog. It’s a brilliant combination, both in terms of flavor and the visual appeal. I don’t see avocado added to the mix very often, and it’s a fantastic third major component.
Avocado and Radicchio Salad with Lime Vinaigrette: Sometimes, it’s the combination of ingredients rather than a lot of ingredients than makes a great salad. Case in point, this colorful salad. Avocado, radicchio, tender greens (like watercress or others), and cherry tomatoes — that’s it! It’s a simple salad that makes a statement.
Sesame-Ginger Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw: It’s not always easy to pair Asian-style dishes with salad, but this sesame-ginger flavored red cabbage and carrot slaw might just be the perfect accompaniment. This crunchy salad is compatible with Asian-style vegetable stir-fries, noodle dishes, and recipes featuring tofu, tempeh, and seitan.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Arugula & Pumpkin Seeds: Butternut squash roasted with soy sauce and maple syrup makes a beautiful salad that’s absolutely addictive. It’s easy enough for everyday meals and festive enough for fall and winter special occasions. Roasted butternut squash tossed with arugula (or other baby greens of your choice) and embellished with pumpkin seeds proves that a few well chosen ingredients can produce a wow factor.
Vegan Cobb Salad: A classic American main-dish salad, the traditional Cobb salad consists of rows of uncooked vegetables, meats, and eggs arranged in rows on salad greens, served with a mustardy vinaigrette. This vegan Cobb salad recipe swaps in plant-based proteins for the traditional chicken and bacon, and replaces the customary hard-boiled eggs with chickpeas.
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad: Since they taste just as good at room temperature as they do hot out of the oven, roots are presented here in an appetizing roasted root vegetable salad. Root vegetables are abundant in the cooler months, and come in so many earthy hues. Roasting root vegetables in a hot oven is the best way to bring out their mellow, slightly sweet flavors. You can vary this dish each time you make it, choosing from among parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, red or golden beets.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn: Black beans, corn, and avocado come together in a hearty southwestern quinoa salad that’s good as a main dish or side. In larger portions, this can be a main-dish salad, and as a side salad, it goes well with vegan quesadillas, simple soups, or a side-by side salad.
Thai Pineapple Salad with Peanut Dressing: Inspired by the house salads served at Thai restaurants, this Thai pineapple salad is the perfect side dish for Asian-style noodle or rice dishes. A larger portion can serve as the centerpiece of a meal alongside a simple tofu or tempeh dish. Who knows if this fresh-tasting salad resembles anything from authentic Thai cuisine, but either way, it’s refreshing and flavorful.
Cool Cucumber and Kale Salad with Hot and Spicy Tofu: I just love salads that are both hot and cold. This cool and refreshing cucumber and kale salad topped with sriracha-sautéed tofu is a prime example. Featuring cool greens and raw vegetables layered with warm protein, it’s a dish that can be enjoyed year-round, but it’s especially welcome when you need some motivation to eat salad. The sizzling tofu contrasts deliciously with the slaw-style salad.
Hot and Cool Layered Black Bean Taco Salad: Given my penchant for salads that are both hot and cool, it comes as no surprise that this black bean taco salad is a favorite. It’s a fast and fun main dish that has it all — salad veggies, high-protein beans, and two “yum factor” ingredients — good-quality tortilla chips and vegan cheese.
More great vegan winter salad recipes from around the web: