All of these salads can create an easy-to-assemble meal and with their rainbow of colors, they’re filled with an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep you feeling great, particularly when winter stress and lack of sufficient sleep tends to tax our health and well-being.

You can build your salads around a number of greens, grains, or legumes, and we’ve got you covered on all fronts here: Whether it’s freekeh, lentils, baby spinach, Brussels sprouts or Wild Rice – you can pick your favorites and change out the base or toppings to meet your flavor preferences. Maybe it’s couscous over farro or arugula instead of spinach. Changing out nuts for seeds, and swapping winter squashes for root vegetables, gives you many opportunities to substitute herbs and spices as well.

These are perfect for parties, as you can serve up an array of ingredients on a buffet and let your guests create their own delicious masterpiece.

What We're Cooking This Weekend: Taco Salad with Lime Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn off the cob (or frozen corn)
  • 6 small corn tortillas (sliced into quarters or sixths) or substitute restaurant-style tortilla chips
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 avocados, ripe, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • Vegetable oil

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbs jalapeños, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

You aren’t limited by the ingredients for this salad – select your favorites, make it colorful and with varied textures and you’ve got a party in a bowl.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place tomatoes, corn, greens, onion, and black beans in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a small pan on high heat. Add a little oil and then add the tortilla wedges. Cook until golden. Let cool slightly, then add to salad. (Note: Alternatively, you may bake the tortilla wedges in a 350 degree F oven for approximately 10 minutes or until crisp.) If you prefer, use restaurant-style tortilla chips.
  3. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and process for 10 seconds, or whisk until pureed.
  4. Toss salad with dressing and serve on top of tortilla chips and garnish with additional cilantro.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Freekeh, Baby Kale and Cider Vinaigrette

4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For squash:

  • 1 butternut squash (1½ pound, peeled and ¾-inch cube)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For kale and freekeh:

  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cider
  • 1 cup uncooked freekeh
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 cups baby kale
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For cider dressing and serving:

  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash salt
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil and maple syrup; place on sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once or twice. Cook until tender.
  2. Bring vegetable stock and cider to a boil over high heat. Add freekeh, cover and reduce heat to medium, low, simmering until all liquid is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Use a fork and fluff the freekeh, set aside.
  3. Using a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and cook a couple of minutes until slightly wilted. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, cooking for an additional minute.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk together apple cider, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and salt. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil until thoroughly incorporated. (Alternatively, you may shake all of the ingredients together in a Mason jar.)
  5. For the final assembly, place kale on a platter and top with the freekeh, then squash. Drizzle with dressing, to taste; sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with side of remaining dressing.

Spinach Salad with Caramelized Shallots, Roasted Pears, Silvered Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ dried cranberries (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small, heavy (cast-iron) skillet over low heat, stir honey until it becomes melted and add almonds; stir until coated. Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 or 8 minutes, or until the nuts look lightly browned and toasted. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Increase heat to 400 degrees F. Grease a separate baking sheet lightly with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add sliced pears and bake for approximately 5 minutes, flip and bake for a few minutes more until both sides have lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer pear slices to a plate.
  3. In a small lidded jar, place the mustard and raspberry vinegar and minced shallot. Shake (with lid on), drizzle in olive oil and shake again.
  4. Place spinach in a bowl and gently toss in the pear slices and almonds with some of the dressing. Serve garnished with dried cranberries, if using.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Pomegranate Seeds

6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 3 medium-sized acorn squashes
  2. Olive oil
  3. Balsamic vinegar

For stuffing:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh ginger, minced (approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 1 ½ cups cooked wild rice (follow package instructions)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pomegranate seeds from two pomegranates

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Slice squashes in half (from the stem end to the base) and scoop out seeds and fiber. Prick the inside of the squash a few times with a fork. Using your fingers, rub a little oil and red wine vinegar to the inside of each squash. Place each squash half in a baking dish and add about ½ cup water to the bottom of the dish and bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until squash is lightly browned and tender.
  3. While squash is cooking, prepare the rice. Bring 2 ½ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan and add ½ cup wild rice. Simmer for 45 minutes, covered, or until tender. Remove from heat, drain any water not absorbed, by the rice and set aside.
  4. As the squash is baking, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for a few minutes until the onions soften. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes more. Add Brussels sprouts, cooked rice and half of the pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Once squash is done, remove from oven, add rice mixture and garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds. Scatter any additional filling around the squash halves and serve.

Roasted Root Vegetable and Lentil Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette

6 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Lentil Salad:

  • 5 medium carrots (can be a variety/rainbow of colors), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 turnips, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 small beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cups French beluga, green or brown lentils
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Mustard-Tangerine Vinaigrette:

  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice from clementines or a tangerine (with enough juice to equal about 1/8 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup olive oil

For Serving:

  • 1 head radicchio, leaves separated (you could also substitute endive leaves)
  • 3 scallions, both whites, and greens, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place carrots, turnips and golden beets in a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer on a large rimmed baking pan.
  2. Toss the red beet pieces with a little more olive oil and salt and add to baking pan (the color of the red beets runs into the other vegetables, so keeping them separate keeps the colors vibrant. place thyme and rosemary sprigs on top of vegetables.
  3. Cover pans with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Remove foil, and roast for another half-hour, or until vegetables are golden and tender.
  4. In a large stockpot, place lentils, garlic, water (enough to cover lentils by a couple of inches), salt, pepper, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Make the dressing while lentils are cooking. Whisk together vinegar, tangerine juice, and mustard. Slowly add olive oil to incorporate.
  5. Drain lentils and remove bay leaf. Toss warm lentils with half of the vinaigrette. Add salt, to taste.
  6. Arrange the radicchio (or endive) leaves on the base of a platter, spoon on the dressed lentils and top with the roasted vegetables and drizzle with a couple of spoons of vinaigrette. Garnish with scallion and parsley; serve.