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Warm Salads to Carry You Through Winter

November 11, 2014

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Bulk up your winter salads with warm ingredients to satisfy you on the coldest of days.

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As the temperature continues to drop, we find ourselves less and less satisfied with our standard lunch salad. We keep cool through summer by crunching on a big bowl of vegetables, but come winter, we’d rather spend our lunch hour warming ourselves from the inside out -- digging into a bowl of piping hot soup or pulling apart a gooey grilled cheese.

What these blustery days call for is a salad that suits the season, bulked up with warm components to make it a bit heartier and a whole lot more satisfying. Warm salads are decidedly retro, and that’s fine by us -- they fulfill our need to feel toasty inside during the shivering days ahead.

Here’s are a few of our favorite ways to warm up otherwise cold and crunchy salads:

  • Heat your favorite vinaigrette in the microwave and toss it with hearty greens like spinach, kale, radicchio, or escarole for a warm, wilted salad. Add a handful of crumbled cheese, toasted nuts, or a sliced hard boiled egg to make it a more substantial meal.
  • Leftover roasted vegetables, cooked beans, lentils, or grains, warmed up in the microwave, are a quick way to winterize any salad.
  • Garnish your salad with baked goat cheese: Cut 1/3-inch rounds of soft goat cheese and roll them in nuts or breadcrumbs. Pack the cheese along with your salad, then bake or broil it in a toaster oven until golden brown and warmed through.

More: Looking for more warming lunches? Try savory oatmeal.

How do you winterize your salads? Tell us in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • leelang
  • Laurie
  • aargersi
Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.


leelang November 12, 2014
ngon quá.so good
Laurie November 11, 2014
I throw leftover shredded garlic pork (warmed up or not) into a salad of kale and thinly sliced cabbage, So good with a simple red wine vinaigrette. I've also made a warm chorizo dressing for spinach salad that is out of this world (and would be good with the cornbread mentioned in the previous comment!)
aargersi November 11, 2014
Based on the leftover cornbread conversation on the hotline - my new favorite thing is leftover cornbread cubed, crisped up in a little butter then tossed into a kale salad with some dried cranberries, sliced apple, and a lemony dressing. So good.