The perfect winter salad exists – here’s how to make it at home

Stop thinking of salad as a pile of iceberg lettuce topped with shredded carrots and a few grape tomatoes. Make it meaningful. Give it a purpose. Build it so that it counts as dinner, not as a side dish on second thought.

A hearty, nutritious winter salad for dinner ticks all the boxes for good gut health, muscle building, convenience and efficiency, and deliciousness. Oh yeah, and it’ll satiate your tummy until breakfast, so it’s fine as a standalone meal.

Here are your blueprints below, and for more excellent salad ideas check out 35+ Healthy Salad Recipes for Weight Loss.

Build a foundation.

winter salad barley mushrooms beets parsley herbs

winter salad barley mushrooms beets parsley herbs

Instead of your typical base of chopped veggies, build your base with a whole grain like quinoa, farro, barley, or spelt. Whole grains fill your belly with protein and fiber, helping you feel full all night long. “Eating whole grains helps with weight management and can significantly lower your risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory disease, stomach and colon cancer, and high blood pressure,” says the registered dietitian nutritionist. Jen Haugen, RDNowner of Jen’s Joyful Kitchen, cookbook author Dinner, done!.

Carrot for vegetables.

roasted Vegetables

roasted Vegetables

Roasted root vegetables add delicious depth to a salad and add a savory touch. You can roast sweet potato, acorn squash, and Brussels sprouts together in one pan. First cut them into pieces and then toss them in the pan with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Roast in a 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, turning often. Don’t want to fry? Chop up some leafy greens like collard greens, Swiss chard, and collard greens to top your quinoa base.

RELATED: 5 Best Leafy Greens to Lose Belly Fat and Slow Aging

Give me a call, Scotty!

roasted chickpea plate

roasted chickpea plate

Boost your meal with more plant-derived muscle-building protein. Add chickpeas, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas, all high in protein and fiber. Choose beans with this ranking of 14 high-protein beans.

Put some sweet spice in it.

autumn winter salad apples onions goat cheese

autumn winter salad apples onions goat cheese

Add a touch of sour sweetness — and a pop of color — with a winter fruit like pomegranate or apples that are rich in antioxidants. These days, you can get nice berries all year round, so other options include raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Dried cranberries also work in a pinch.

Drizzle the dressing.

whisk salad dressing

whisk salad dressing

Let your salad stand on its merits. It has a lot of great tasting ingredients in it, so don’t drown it all in a bath of sugary salad dressing. Make your own light vinaigrette: Start with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Mix acids such as apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed orange juice. Add a touch of sweetness, such as local honey or maple syrup. Optional for binding: a spoonful of mustard or tahini. Season with salt, pour into a preserving jar, close and shake well.

Add low-cal flavor.

growing herbs in the kitchen at home

growing herbs in the kitchen at home

Refreshing, colorful, nutritious and super low in calories, herbs amp up the flavor quotient of any salad. But they must be fresh. Try parsley, cilantro, mint and basil to name a few.

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