Genius Recipes

15 Genius Tips for Better Salads, Even in Winter

February 17, 2016

So what if it's zero degrees sometimes! Here are 15 bonafide Genius Recipes that will keep you in vegetables and dressings (and, occasionally, legumes and eggs and meats) from now until the sun sticks around long enough to grow a good tomato.

Better yet, bundled up in each of these recipes are smart techniques you can put to work on all of your salads, all year long—I've unbundled them below.

Dressing Hacks

Make so-so vinegar tastes like the fancy stuff with an itty bitty slosh of red wine.

Shop the Story

Or! By steeping chopped red onion in it for a spell, then straining it out.

For an extra-bright, crisp salad, add crushed ice.

Didn't believe me about the ice? Here it is again. (Also, you don't need olive oil to make a balanced dressing, and in this case, you're better off without it.)

You can make a creamy dressing without dairy of any kind, thanks to a whole soft-boiled egg...

…or stale bread!

Caesar salad can skip the egg and add balsamic vinegar (what?) and still be Caesar.

Waiter, there's ____ in my salad!

Whole garlic cloves, tamed in boiling water, then sizzled in bacon fat!

Crispy brown rice!

Two kinds of cheese!

A cup of Greek yogurt!

Lettuce can take the heat.

You can dump scrambled eggs and hot pancetta dressing over a salad and it won't upset the lettuce. Or maybe it will, and that's the best part.

Same deal with sizzling ground pork, vinegar, and mashed hard-cooked egg yolks.

Lettuce? We don't need no stinking lettuce.

Roasted squash, chickpeas, and tahini dressing will do.

Or roasted orange segments, peel and all.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Contributors Editor Sarah Jampel for the nudge to gather these up!

Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • NotTooSweet
  • Caroline Lange
    Caroline Lange
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


NotTooSweet February 21, 2016
I second the comment on Northern Spy's Kale Salad. I make it weekly, have turned on several friends and both daughters to the recipe. LOVE IT!
Caroline L. February 17, 2016
that roasted orange salad kills me in the best way every time i make it.
Riddley G. February 17, 2016
I make Northern Spy's Kale Salad at least twice a week—not kidding!