8 Salads That Taste Even Better After All Those Cheese Plates

Because vegetable cravings are real.

December 27, 2018

Here’s what the last weekish of my life looked like: a cheese plate, another cheese plate, an eight-pound ham, the crispiest potatoes, the creamiest kale gratin, all the cookies, 87 dumplings (I kid—or do I?), mapo tofu, fried rice, more cookies, furikake chex mix, so much pizza. Oh, and did I mention the wine and bubbly to go with?

All of which to say—the end of 2018 has been good. But sometime soon, you know, after I’ve eaten all these cheesy leftovers, I’m going to crave a—what’s the word again?—salad.

If you’re picturing something lean and remorseful, don’t. These salads aren’t about feeling badly about anything—just about feeling good, period. When that vegetable craving finally strikes (I’m guessing in, like, 19 hours), here’s my to-make wishlist. Most are substantial enough to be a meal on their own, but feel free to add a protein—chicken breast, salmon fillet, fried egg, etc.—to any.

raw & crunchy

No wilting here. Shaved Brussel sprouts stay crisp no matter how much dressing you add (and, as far as I'm concerned, too much Caesar dressing is not a thing).

Radicchio is a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable—and I love it. But, for those who feel otherwise, this cheesy vinaigrette, plus a couple smarty-pants recipe tricks, will change their minds.

Cooked & cozy

This recipe won our Your Best Recipe With Apples contest, and for good reason: the apples and fennel are caramelized, the goat cheese is creamy, the hazelnuts are toasted, and the dressing is lemony. Okay, okay, that's four reasons.

Who said salads need to be green? Not us! This one is mostly purple (from delightfully bitter radicchio) and orange (from sweet, roasted carrots) and mighty pretty, if we do say so ourselves.

halfway to grain bowl

Have you ever tried sautéing dates? You should. Especially if you add them to this number with chewy wheat berries, roasted squash, and funky blue cheese.

File under: really want with a fried egg on top. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen blogger Deb Perelman was one of the top 10 Genius Recipes of 2018. You'll just have to make it to see why.

on toast!

You had me at bagna cauda. This hot dip hails from Italy and is all about anchovies and garlic, which both get along very well with bread, eggs, and avocados (I mean, who doesn't?).

I'd be happy eating this celery salad all by its lonesome. But, as our co-founder Amanda Hesser writes, it gets even better when piled on blue cheese–smothered toast: "What could make for a better lunch, really?"

What are your favorite wintry salads? Tell us the deets in the comments!

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    Emma Laperruque
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Mary January 4, 2019
Favorite winter salad is a variation on Marcella Hazan's Romaine Salad with Gorgonzola and Walnuts. My version uses a mix of greens, heavy on romaine but adds in spicy spring mix for color and frisee or curly endive for a little bitter contrast. I also add a clove of garlic, pressed, to the simple vinaigrette dressing, and toast the walnuts for additional flavor.
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Emma L. January 4, 2019
Yum, thanks for sharing this! I have some extra blue cheese in my fridge—and now I know just what to do with it.
Dee January 3, 2019
Pomelo - peel and separate the clusters into bite sized pieces. Rub a bowl with garlic cloves and put the pomelo in to marinate for a few hours. Use soft butter/Boston lettuce and sliced scallions as a bed. Add the pomelo and some ripe avocado chunks and something crunchy like roasted sunflower seeds or almond slivers. Dress with a sweet/sour honey vinaigrette- i use tarragon vinegar.
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Emma L. January 4, 2019
Ooh lovely! Sounds so refreshing and colorful.
Katherine January 3, 2019
I don't have a comment about a favorite salad. I have a search. Years ago I had a recipe for Winter Salad from Gourmet magazine. I know it had blanched green beans, I think slices of radishes, red onions, and perhaps carrots? I really can't remember the details and I don't remember the dressing at all, though I think maybe some type of vinaigrette? I loved it because it was cold, crisp, colorful, simple, with a tangy dressing. I have searched everywhere I can think of, but not THE ONE. Wonder if one of the wonderful cooks from the site (and really old like me) might be able to pull up a memory?
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Emma L. January 4, 2019
Hi Katherine! Sounds delicious—I hope someone can help you find the recipe. I just did a search through The Gourmet Cookbook and the closest I could find was: "Green Bean Salad With Pumpkin Seed Dressing." (The green beans are blanched.) If that doesn't sound right, this would be a fun question for our Hotline: Just re-share the question there and more people will see it (our readers love recipe hunts like this). Good luck!
chefpatty January 3, 2019
Dan Kluger’s Butternut squash salad with spicy onions is a great winter time salad. I serve it on top of arugula.
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Emma L. January 4, 2019
I've been wanting to try that one!