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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 after the festive period, 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 we think that 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 (here are a few great food storage solutions if you’re looking for one).

For us winter salads are all about winter veg, nuts and seasoning, so here are our top 11 winter salad recipes that your gut and your taste buds will thank you for...

P.S. 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 and Beets (our recipe)

Butternut squash
Salt and pepper
Spice blend of your choice (Harissa, cajun or cumin and turmeric work well here but we encourage you to get creative!)
Your favourite nuts and/or cheese to sprinkle on top

Peel as much squash as you need and cut it into 2cm chunks.
Wash as many beets as you need and cut them into chunks a bit smaller than the squash
Spread them out in a roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Now to choose your flavour! You can buy ready made spice blends or make your own.
Try harissa, berbere, ras el hanout, cajun or wack on some paprika, turmeric and cumin. Sprinkle your chosen flavour over the veg.
Roast in the oven at 180* for half an hour - 40 mins ish - basically until they are slightly browned and soft to eat!
Wait for it to cool and mix some rocket through.
Now to make it a little more interesting. There’s a few things you can add - feta or blue cheese, toasted walnuts, parsley or dill. Anything you think tastes nice really!
Top tip: If you’re not using the whole squash roast the rest of it in a separate tin anyway and make squash and lentil soup with it later.

roasted squash and betroot salad Elephant Box

2. Mushroom & Green Bean Warm Salad with Croutons (our recipe) (ve) - serves 2

Handful of spinach
Handful of baby gem lettuce (chopped)
Pea shoots
1 carrot (ribboned - peel the carrot, compost the peelies, then keep peeling forming 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

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.
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).
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. Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Salad (Delish recipe) - serves 6

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of freshly chopped parsley
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
900g Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
64g chopped toasted almonds
64g pomegranate seeds
Shaved Parmesan, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper until combined.
Add Brussels sprouts and toss until completely coated.
Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 20 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving.
Fold in almonds and pomegranate seeds and garnish with shaved Parmesan before serving.

4. Lentil, beetroot and hazelnut salad (ve) (from delicious.) - serves 4

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

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.

5. Maple Roasted Carrot & Za’atar Salad (Melissa Hemsley recipe) - serves 4

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

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.
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.
Then toss everything together to serve.

6. Winter Salad with Beets, Orange, and Pomegranate (ve) (adapted from Occasionally Eggs) - serves 4

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

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.

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

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

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.

8. Walnuts, wild rice and winter green salad (from Olive) - serves 4

walnuts (freshly shelled ideally) 100g, roughly chopped
olive oil
mixed kales 200g, finely shredded
celery 2 sticks, finely sliced
mixed wild rice or mixed wild rice 175g, cooked and drained
dried apricots 8, snipped into pieces
sesame oil
soy sauce 1 tbsp
honey 1 tbsp

Heat a frying pan or wok and toast the walnuts until they brown at the edges, then tip them into a large bowl. 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.
Whisk 3 tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp sesame oil, the soy sauce and honey and add this to the bowl, toss everything together well.

9. Vegan Creamy Pasta Salad (adapted from Allrecipes) - serves 4

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

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook 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. Combine vegetables in a bowl. Mix together vegan mayo, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and 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 to give it an extra je ne sais quoi!

10. Winter Slaw (our recipe) - serves 2 ish

A handful of red cabbage
A handful of grated carrot (or substitute for grated beetroot)
Half a bulb of fennel
A handful of hazelnuts

For the dressing:
2 big teaspoons dijon mustard
4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses or 1.5 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
100g olive oil

Finely shred 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!
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.
Chop some parsley. Mix it all together.

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.
Squeeze half an orange over the whole thing if you like for extra zing.

winter slaw

11. Puy lentil and beetroot (our recipe)

Puy lentils
Red pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley dill or coriander
Toasted nuts or seeds of your choice

Cook up some puy lentils with a clove or 2 and a couple of garlic cloves. When they’re cooked, remove the garlic and clove. Try not to over cook them. 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.
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.
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 just mix this with olive oil (and salt & pepper) or add the same dressing as the slaw above.

lentil and betroot salad Elephant Box

Note: Each of these recipes make the perfect packed lunch to be taken to work, to your desk in your bedroom, or to a socially distanced picnic (when that’s allowed again). If you're using a dressing, best to get a leakproof lunchbox to avoid any spillages!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do! x

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