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  • 8 min read

     

    If you’re anything like us, you’re probably feeling a bit conflicted right now. As much as we’ll be sad to stop overindulging on rich and heavy foods that got us through deep winter &the festive season, we’re also wanting a bit of a break and craving fresh vegetables and light zingy dishes. So out with the festive platters of beige and in with a vibrant rainbow of salads!

    Salads are usually reserved for spring and summer, but there is definitely a place for them in the colder months. Warm salads, seasonal roasted veggies and creamy pasta salads definitely deserve to be on our tables and in our lunch boxes throughout winter.

    Plus you can make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge for a few days so you have lunches ready for the working week.

    For us winter salads are all about winter veg, nuts and seasoning, so here are 

    10 winter salad recipes that your gut & your taste buds will thank you for...

    Some of these recipes are from the Elephant Box team and others are taken or adapted from our favourite chefs. Not all of these recipes are vegan but all are vegetarian - vegan recipes are marked with a (ve). If you want a vegan version, simply swap the cheeses for your favourite vegan alternative. 

    1 Roast squash & beet salad 

    2 Warm mushroom & green bean salad

    3 Lentil, beetroot & hazelnut salad (Delicious)

    4 Maple roasted carrot & za'atar salad (Melissa Hemsley)

    5 Winter salad with beets, orange & pomegranate (Occasionally Eggs)

    6 Sweet potato Tex-Mex salad (BBC Good Food)

    7 Walnut, wild rice & winter green salad (Olive)

    8 Vegan creamy pasta salad (Allrecipes)

    9 Immune boosting winter slaw

    10 Puy lentil & beetroot salad


    1 Roast squash & beet salad


    roasted squash and betroot salad Elephant BoxIngredients

    Whole butternut squash

    2 Beetroots
    Salt and pepper to taste
    A spice blend of your choice (Harissa, cajun or cumin and turmeric work well)
    A generous handful of rocket
    Your favourite nuts & seeds to sprinkle on top

     Method

    STEP 1

    Peel the squash & cut it into 2cm chunks. Wash the beets & cut them into chunks a bit smaller than the squash. Spread the veg onto a roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a teaspoon of spice blend over the veg. You can buy ready made spice blends or make your own. Try harissa, berbere, ras el hanout, cajun or  paprika, turmeric and cumin. 

    STEP 2

    Roast in the oven at 180* for half an hour - 40 mins - Until slightly browned & softened.

    STEP 3

    Wait for it to cool and mix some rocket through. Add toppings of your choice - feta, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, parsley or dill. 

    Top tip: Roast the whole squash & use any leftovers to make squash and lentil soup or freeze. 


    2 Warm mushroom & green bean salad (ve) - serves 2

    Ingredients

    Handful of spinach
    Handful of baby gem lettuce (chopped)
    Pea shoots
    1 carrot (peeled into thin ribbons)
    A handful of sliced mushrooms
    A clove of garlic (chopped or crushed)
    Half a red onion (chopped)
    A handful of green beans chopped in half
    4 sundried tomatoes (chopped)
    A small slice of crusty bread (even better if its a bit stale)
    Fresh basil to sprinkle on top (optional)
    Balsamic vinegar
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Method

    STEP 1

    Fry off the onion in olive oil until translucent, add the garlic, mushrooms and green beans. Add a drop of balsamic and salt and pepper to taste and fry until caramelised.
    In the meantime, arrange your leaves in your bowl (or Elephant Box) add your sundried tomatoes and ribboned carrot and toss together.

    STEP 2

    Chop your bread into small crouton-sized chunks. Once your hot mixture is ready move to one side and fry off the bread in the same pan (so it gets flavoured with all the delicious juices).

    STEP 3

    When the bread is crisp and browned, top your leaves with the hot mixture, add your croutons, sprinkle on your basil if using and drizzle on the olive oil and balsamic to taste.


    3 Lentil, beetroot & hazelnut salad (ve) (delicious) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    250g puy lentils, rinsed
    625ml water
    3 cooked (unpickled) beetroot, cut into small cubes
    2 spring onions, finely sliced
    2 tbsp hazelnuts, roughly chopped
    Handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
    Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

    Method

    Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with the filtered water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and the lentils are cooked with bite.
    Transfer the lentils to a large bowl and leave to cool, or rinse under cold water in a sieve to cool quickly.
    Once the lentils are cool, add the beetroot, spring onions, hazelnuts and herbs, then stir to combine.
    To make the dressing, put the ginger, mustard, oil and vinegar in a bowl and whizz with a stick blender. Season, then drizzle over the salad.


    4. Maple roasted carrot & za’atar salad (Melissa Hemsley) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    4 large carrots, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
    1 tbsp maple syrup
    4 giant hands of salad leaves
    1 large handful feta, roughly chopped or crumbled
    Seeds from ½ pomegranate (I used the rest in my gin & tonic!)
    ½ leftover red onion, finely chopped
    1 handful of pistachios or any nuts or seeds
    ½ an avocado, chopped

    For the dressing

    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp argan oil (or replace with olive oil)
    2 tbsp za’atar
    Juice and zest of 1 lemon
    Sea salt & pepper
    Pinch of chilli flakes

    Method

    STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 220 C and roast the carrots for 20 minutes in coconut oil/ghee and sea salt and pepper. Meanwhile shake the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.

    STEP 2


    When the carrots have roasted for 20 minutes, remove the tray, toss them with maple syrup and the pistachios and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes. Toss it all together to serve.

     

    5. Winter salad with beets, orange & pomegranate (ve) (adapted from Occasionally Eggs) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    2 medium yellow beets
    150 grams / 1 cup cooked chickpeas
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    125 grams / 4 cups baby spinach
    50 grams / 1/2 cup lentil sprouts
    80 grams / 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
    1 pomegranate, seeds
    2 mandarins, segments

    Balsamic Ginger Vinaigrette

    60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
    1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. Cut the beets into wedges and place onto a baking sheet with the chickpeas, oil, and salt. Use your hands to mix until fully coated, then bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden.
    To make the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients to a jar or container with a tight fitting lid. Shake until combined.
    To assemble the salad, place the spinach into a large bowl. Add the sprouts, artichoke hearts, pomegranate, and oranges, then the roasted beets and chickpeas once they're ready. Top with the dressing and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a day.


    6. Sweet potato Tex-Mex salad (BBC Good Food) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    600g sweet potatoes, cut into even chunks
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 tsp chilli flakes
    400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
    198g can sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
    2 avocados, chopped
    250g tomatoes, cut into chunks
    1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    1 small pack coriander, roughly chopped
    juice 1 lime

    Method

    Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. On a baking tray, toss the sweet potato in 1 tbsp of the oil with the chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper. Roast for 30 mins until tender.
    Once the sweet potato is nearly ready, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and season well. Mix everything well but take care to avoid squashing the avocado. Divide the salad evenly between plates, or serve sharing-style with the sweet potato chunks.


    7. Walnut, wild rice & winter green salad (Olive) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    100 grams walnuts (freshly shelled ideally) roughly chopped

    Olive oil

    200 grams of mixed kales, finely shredded

    2 celery sticks finely sliced175 grams of cooked wild rice

    8 dried apricots  snipped into pieces

    Sesame oil

    1 tablespoon of soy sauce

    1 tablespoon of honey 

    Method

    STEP 1

    Heat a frying pan or wok and toast the walnuts until they brown at the edges, then tip them into a large bowl.

    STEP 2

    Add a little olive oil to the wok and quickly toss the kale over a high heat for a few minutes until it starts to wilt, season well and tip into the bowl. Add the celery, wild rice and apricots.

    STEP 3

    Whisk 3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, the soy sauce & honey and add this to the bowl, toss everything together well.


    8. Creamy Pasta Salad (ve) (adapted from Allrecipes) - serves 4

    Ingredients

    225g whole wheat pasta (spiral or macaroni works well but completely up to you!)
    1/2 red pepper, diced
    Handful of sweetcorn (tinned works well here)
    1/2 stalk celery, diced
    1 tablespoon diced red onion (more if you’re an onion fan)
    30g vegan mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon white vinegar
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Method

    STEP 1

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Strain pasta and rinse under cold water. Drain.

    STEP 2

    Combine the vegetables in a bowl. Mix together vegan mayo, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetables and stir in the cold pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Feel free to top with your favourite herbs like dill, parsley or basil to finish.


    9. Immune boosting winter slaw - serves 2 

    winter slaw

    Ingredients

    A handful of red cabbage

    A handful of grated carrot (or substitute for grated beetroot)

    Half a bulb of fennel

    A handful of hazelnuts

    A handful of parsley

     

    For the dressing

    2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses or 1.5 teaspoon sugar
    5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    100g olive oil

    Method

    STEP 1

    Finely shred the red cabbage (as much as you need, a handful is enough for 2)
    Grate some carrot - again just a handful is probably enough. You could substitute grated beetroot here if needed. Very finely shred half a fennel bulb - a mandolin is useful here. I haven't got one but always wish I had when approaching the fennel!

    STEP 2

    Toast a handful of hazelnuts. Do this by putting them in a dry pan over a medium heat and waiting until they begin to smell toasty and delicious. Keep them moving around in the pan. Don’t take your eye off them - it’s so easy to forget and burn them! Then chop them up a bit.

    STEP 3

    Mix it all together with a handful of chopped parsley.

    For the dressing

    Mix the mustard, molasses/sugar, salt & pepper & vinegar together. Then slowly whisk in the oil. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add as much dressing as you want to the salad - you’ll probably have some left over, this will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Squeeze half an orange over the whole thing for extra zing.


    10. Puy lentil & beetroot salad- serves 4

    lentil and betroot salad Elephant Box

    Ingredients

    250 grams of puy lentils
    3 beetroots
    2 cloves of garlic
    Cloves
    A red pepper
    Chopped parsley dill or coriander
    Toasted nuts or seeds of your choice

     Method

    STEP 1

    Cook up the puy lentils with a clove or 2 and the garlic cloves. When they’re cooked, remove the garlic and clove.  If you refresh them in cold water as soon as you take them off the hob they won’t carry on cooking in their own heat.

    STEP 2

    Boil a couple of beets with their skins on. When they are cooked the skins should slide off in your hand. Then cut into 1cm cubes. Or you could roast the beets in 1cm cubes if you want. Roast a red pepper. To do this, cut it in half and deseed it, put it on a roasting tray with some drizzled oil, salt and pepper and put it in the oven at 180* for about 20 mins. Then slice it up.

    STEP 3

    Mix the beets, pepper and lentils together with some chopped parsley, dill or coriander, some toasted walnuts, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds. Add feta or blue cheese if you fancy. You can mix this with olive oil salt & pepper or add the same dressing as the slaw above.



    Hope you enjoy these salads as much as we do! 


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