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Easy salad recipe ideas use kale, quinoa and other winter vegetables

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A salad recipe can use many vegetable ingredients other than salad greens. In cooler climates throughout winter, fresh local salad greens are not typically available. But that doesn’t mean you must retire the salad course until spring. Winter vegetables and pantry ingredients can make great salads that can stand head to head over warm weather salads. If all your salads are always all greens, here are several delicious salad recipe ideas to break you out of your rut.

Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts: Place 4 to 6 cups sliced kale in a medium bowl, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and then cover with boiling water. Let stand 1-2 minutes or until softened. Drain kale in a colander and cool room temperature. Whisk together 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, 1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons oil. Pour dressing over cooled kale and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese, feta cheese, or blue cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped roasted walnuts.

Quinoa Salad with Vegetables: Toss together 1 cup cooked quinoa (or any cooked grain, such as wheat berries, rice, or bulgur), 1 cup cooked and chopped winter vegetables (beets, carrots, cauliflower, squash cubes, turnips), 1 cup chopped kale or parsley, and 1/2 cup chopped onion. Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cider or wine vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Pour dressing over grain and vegetables and toss until well-combined.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad: Wash, trim, and cut into 1-inch pieces 3-4 pounds (before trimming) winter vegetables (beets, carrots, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, squash cubes, turnips). Toss prepared vegetables with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and roast in a preheated oven to 425°F for 8-12 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. On a clean baking sheet, toast about 2 cups leftover bread cubes until dry and lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Cool, cover, and store up to 2 weeks. Place in a large bowl cold vegetables and toasted bread cubes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, thyme, or chives and 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and toss until well combined.

Mixed Cabbage Salad with Apple and Smoked Pork: Mix together 1 quart water and 3 tablespoons salt until dissolved. Soak 3 cups sliced red cabbage for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Repeat with 3 cups green cabbage in a separate bowl. Shred or cut into thin matchsticks 1 cup smoked pork (or ham hock). Drain cabbages in a colander, squeeze dry with towels, and transfer to a serving bowl. Core and chop 1 apple; soak in water to cover with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Whisk together 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise. Drain apple, add to cabbage with smoked pork, pour dressing over salad, and toss until evenly coated.

Broccoli Salad with Sun-dried Tomato and Bacon: Whisk together 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few grindings of pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons oil. Pour dressing over 4 to 6 cups tender cooked broccoli florets and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomato and and 2 thick slices (2 ounces) diced and cooked crisp bacon.

Cauliflower Salad with Almonds and Sizzling Parsley: Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 bunch stemmed, washed and dried parsley—it will sizzle and pop, so take care not to stand too close. Toss parsley until it wilts and darkens, 30-60 seconds. Pour parsley and oil over 4 to 6 cups tender cooked cauliflower florets, sprinkle with 2 big pinches sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup slivered roasted almonds.

Kohlrabi and Mizuna Salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons apple cider or rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well blended. Add 2 medium kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch, and cut into sticks (about 2 cups) sticks. Toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. When ready to serve, toss kohlrabi with 1 bunch mizuna, trimmed, washed, spun dry, and sliced in 2-inch lengths (about 4 cups); kale or parsley may be substituted. If desired, sprinkle salad with 2 tablespoon toasted nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts).

Dried Bean Salad with Onion and Herbs: Toss together until well-combined one 14-15 ounce can (about 1-1/2 cups) drained and rinsed beans (black, red, white, pinto, or any combination), one 10 ounce package frozen corn (about 1-1/2 cups), 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomato, 1/2 cup chopped canned pepper (such as roasted sweet red, or pickled pepperoncini or jalapeno), 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and 6 tablespoons olive oil.

Potato Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing: In a large (10 or 12 inch) skillet over medium heat, cook 2 slices (2 ounces) diced bacon until it renders some of its fat, 5-8 minutes. Add ½ cup chopped onion and continue to cook until bacon is just beginning to crisp and onion is soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and salt. Taste and correct seasoning with additional sugar, salt, and vinegar; the sauce can be sharp and tangy or mild and sweet, as desired. Pour dressing over 1 pound tender cooked and sliced waxy or all-purpose (red or Yukon Gold) potatoes in a serving bowl and toss until evenly coated.

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