4 Warm Salad Recipes That Tick Off the Healthy and Comfort Food Boxes

Updated 10/29/18

With the onset of any new season, there is one thing we always look forward to most at MyDomaine HQ: new-season produce. But fall is one of our favorites because we love nothing more than cozying up indoors cooking our favorite recipes and streaming our favorite Netflix shows. Yes, you now have permission to make all of these fall recipes ASAP, including these delicious eggplant meals.

But how do you strike a balance between health and taste? We all just want to eat bowls of pasta, and there's no reason you shouldn't, but if you want to get in your veggies too, we found a delicious solution that isn't a cold salad. It's a warm one. Think cooked carrots with cranberries and walnuts or freekeh bowls with mushroom wild rice.

If this tickles your fancy, then get scrolling to read how to make four of the best warm salads from the delicious new recipe book, Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Enjoy!

Orange Carrot Freekeh With Cranberries and Walnuts

Orange Carrot Freekeh recipe—best warm salad recipe
Recipe excerpted with permission from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Published by Hardie Grant Books

"I first had a salad like this at a sun-drenched cafe in Melbourne on a hot summer’s day. Like most food (and drink) served in the city’s cafes, it was fresh, bright and inspiring, although the mix of orange, cranberries, and walnuts did remind me of dark Christmas nights in Scotland. Still, it's a cracking and memorable flavor combination and one to keep in mind for whenever roast carrot kind of weather arrives wherever you are. Leftovers can easily be popped into a tub for lunch the next day."

Takes: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

200 g (7 oz.) freekeh
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
40 g (1/2 oz.) walnuts
5 carrots, peeled or 300 g (10 1/2 oz.) baby carrots
1 tbsp. olive oil
20 g (3/4 oz.) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Small bunch (20 g/ 3/4 oz.) dill, leaves only
1 1/2 tsp. red wine or cider vinegar
30 g (1 oz.) dried cranberries

200 g (7 oz.) freekeh
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
40 g (1/2 oz.) walnuts
5 carrots, peeled or 300 g (10 1/2 oz.) baby carrots
1 tbsp. olive oil
20 g (3/4 oz.) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Small bunch (20 g/ 3/4 oz.) dill, leaves only
1 1/2 tsp. red wine or cider vinegar
30 g (1 oz.) dried cranberries

Substitutes:

Freekeh: brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley Carrots: radishes, precooked beetroots (beets)
Cranberries: sultanas (golden raisins), sour cherries

Directions: 

First, place the freekeh in a medium pan. Top up with three times the volume of water, bring to the boil then cook over a high heat until tender but still retaining some bite (check the packet instructions for exact cooking times, around 13–15 minutes). Refresh under plenty of cold water, drain then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the orange zest and salt.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat for 1–2 minutes until fragrant and releasing their natural oils. Transfer to a plate to cool. Next, slice the carrots into 2 cm (3/4 in) thick coins on an angle. (If using baby carrots, as pictured, leave them whole.)

Heat the oil in the frying pan then cook the carrots for 2 minutes until beginning to color at the edges. Pour in 120 ml (4 fl oz) of water and the orange juice then add the ginger and boil for 4–5 minutes, or until the water has evaporated into a sticky glaze. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble:

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Mushroom Rosemary Wild Rice With Crispy Kale and Garlic

Mushroom Rosemary Wild Rice—best warm salad recipes
Recipe excerpted with permission from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Published by Hardie Grant Books

"This is comforting autumnal food, without having to stand by the cooker for hours, waiting for something to reduce. (Although sometimes that act in itself can be a wonderful thing.) When it comes to cooking the mushrooms, be brave. Frying them in a really hot pan in a single layer will give them an intense, charred, almost meaty flavor. So if your pan is on the small side, it may be worth cooking the mushrooms in a few batches. With cranberries bringing pops of sweetness and the wild rice a satisfying nuttiness, I'll happily serve bowls of this as it is, but an oozy poached egg on top would deliver an extra layer of comfort."

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

300 g (10 1/2 oz./generous 1 1/2 cups) wild rice
1/2 vegetable, chicken or beef stock cube (optional)
200 g (7 oz.) kale
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
40 g (1 1/2 oz) blanched hazelnuts (see tip)
400 g (14 oz) mushrooms (ideally chestnut or wild mushrooms)
3–4 large sprigs (15 1/2 oz.) rosemary, leaves only
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
30 g (1 oz.) dried cranberries or sour cherries
Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

Ingredients: 

300 g (10 1/2 oz./generous 1 1/2 cups) wild rice
1/2 vegetable, chicken or beef stock cube (optional)
200 g (7 oz.) kale
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
40 g (1 1/2 oz) blanched hazelnuts (see tip)
400 g (14 oz) mushrooms (ideally chestnut or wild mushrooms)
3–4 large sprigs (15 1/2 oz.) rosemary, leaves only
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
30 g (1 oz.) dried cranberries or sour cherries
Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

Substitutes:

Wild rice: brown, red or white rice, buckwheat, quinoa 
Kale: kalettes, shredded Brussels sprouts, chard
Lemon: orange

Tip:

Don't worry if your hazelnuts aren’t blanched. Just rub the nuts between some sheets of kitchen paper when they come out of the oven. This will wipe away most of the papery skins.

Directions:

First, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Next, add the rice to a medium pan and top up with three times the volume of water. Crumble in the stock cube, if using, then bring to the boil and simmer over a medium–high heat for the time stated on the packet (around 18–20 minutes). Once cooked, refresh under cold water and drain.

Meanwhile, wash the kale under cold water and pat dry. Tear the leaves away from the tough stems and discard. Shred the kale into 1 cm (1/2 in) strips then add to a large roasting tray. Rub in 1 tablespoon of the oil and the salt then roast in a single layer for 7 minutes. (If the kale is overcrowded in the tray, it will steam rather than roast, so split across two if your trays are small.) Roughly crush the hazelnuts then add to one corner of the tray. Gently toss the kale then roast for a further 3–4 minutes until crisp and the hazelnuts are beginning to turn golden and release their natural oils.

Set aside. 

Put a large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat while you chop the mushrooms – thickly slice some, quarter others and leave any small mushrooms whole. Add to the hot pan along with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and cook for 6 minutes, stirring now and again. (You want to let the mushrooms color and catch to build up flavor rather than sweating and steaming them.) Finely chop the rosemary, reduce the pan heat to low and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the garlic to cook in the residual heat, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn.

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Roast Tomato Orzo With Dukkah and Thyme

Recipe excerpted with permission from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Published by Hardie Grant Books

"Your oven does all the hard work in this recipe, turning the tomatoes all burnished, sticky and intensely sweet. And like most roast tomato dishes, the flavors get even better with time, so this is a nice option if you need to make something hearty in advance. A scattering of dukkah brings a smoky, spiced crunch to the silky orzo pasta. I like to make my own jar of dukkah (see below) to have at hand for different salads and eggs in the morning, but if that sounds like too much forward planning, most supermarkets sell a version.

Keep in mind there's salt in the dukkah that will season the orzo; you'll probably find it doesn't need much more."

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

600 g (1 lb 5 oz.) ripe cherry tomatoes
Small bunch (15 g/ 1/2 oz.) thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 large garlic cloves
300 g (10 1/2 oz.) orzo
Large bunch (30 g/1 oz) flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 lemon
3 tbsp. dukkah (see below)

Ingredients:

600 g (1 lb 5 oz.) ripe cherry tomatoes
Small bunch (15 g/ 1/2 oz.) thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 large garlic cloves
300 g (10 1/2 oz.) orzo
Large bunch (30 g/1 oz) flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 lemon
3 tbsp. dukkah (see below)

Substitutes:

Thyme: rosemary, oregano
Orzo: mini pasta shells, spelt, freekeh

Directions: 

First, preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7) and bring a medium pan of water to the boil. Slice the tomatoes, some in halves, some in quarters, then add to a large roasting tray in a single layer. Scatter over the thyme leaves and add the oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes (if using), cumin and garlic (leave the skins on). Gently toss and roast for 15 minutes. Remove and reserve the garlic then roast the tomatoes for a further 5 minutes until starting to catch at the edges.

Meanwhile, boil the orzo in the pan of water over a medium heat for the time stated on the packet (around 8–10 minutes for al dente). Refresh under cold water to stop the pasta cooking then drain completely. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.

Assembly:

Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into the roasting tray. Using a fork, mash the garlic and half of the tomatoes into a chunky pulp. Add the cooked orzo into the tray then zest in the lemon. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon then taste; you may want to add more lemon depending on the acidity/sweetness of your tomatoes. Add the parsley then stir everything together, ensuring you scrape all the nice sticky bits off the bottom of the tray. Transfer to a large platter then scatter with the dukkah, if using, to finish.

Dukkah Recipe

"This is my favorite blend of toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and spices, inspired by the Middle East. You can buy dukkah, but making your own jar is really simple and a satisfying ritual to get in the habit of. Try scattering it over shaved squash, avocado on toast or your morning eggs."

Makes: 1 jar (enough for a few of the recipes that include it)

Ingredients:

1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. cumin seeds
50 g (2 oz.) flaked almonds
25 g (1 oz.) sunflower seeds
25 g (1 oz.) sesame seeds
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt flakes

Directions: 

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Warm Chard, Mango Crispy Paneer With Mustard Seeds, Potatoes, Coriander Chutney and Cashews

Warm Chard, Mango Crispy Paneer—best warm salad recipes
Recipe excerpted with permission from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Published by Hardie Grant Books

"Chard's dark green leaves make it ideal for carrying tempered spices like the mustard seeds here. Inspired by the fantastic Indian flavors we got to experience growing up in east London, this chard is tossed through fluffy new potatoes, a spicy coriander and toasted cashew dressing, lime-dressed mango and fried paneer. It makes for a very happy dinner. If you can spot it in the markets, and increasingly the supermarkets, the neon, rainbow variety of chard makes cooking this dish that extra bit special."

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Takes: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

400 g (14 oz.) new potatoes
60 g (2 oz.) cashews
Small bunch (20 g/ 3/4 oz.) mint, leaves only
2 large bunches (60 g/2 oz.) coriander (cilantro)
1 green chili
2 limes
Pinch of sea salt flakes
1 small ripe mango
300 g (10 1/2 oz.) rainbow chard or silverbeet
2 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
220 g (7 1/2 oz.) paneer

Ingredients: 

400 g (14 oz.) new potatoes
60 g (2 oz.) cashews
Small bunch (20 g/ 3/4 oz.) mint, leaves only
2 large bunches (60 g/2 oz.) coriander (cilantro)
1 green chili
2 limes
Pinch of sea salt flakes
1 small ripe mango
300 g (10 1/2 oz.) rainbow chard or silverbeet
2 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
220 g (7 1/2 oz.) paneer

Substitutes:

Rainbow chard: kale, cavolo nero, large leaf spinach
Cashews: almonds, coconut flakes

Directions:

First, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully add the potatoes then simmer over a medium heat for around 15–18 minutes or until tender all the way through – you can check by inserting a sharp knife. Drain in a colander and allow to steam.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a large frying pan (skillet) for 1–2 minutes to release their natural oils. Set aside half (for garnish later) and place the other half in a food processor along with the mint, coriander, chili, zest and juice of 1 lime and salt until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Next, peel the mango and roughly slice (discard the large stone). Transfer to a plate, squeeze over the juice of the remaining lime then set aside. Wash the chard under cold water, pat dry, then roughly chop. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat then add the mustard seeds and fry for 1 minute until they begin to pop. Add the garlic, fry for 30 seconds then add the chard. Fry for 2 minutes then remove from the heat.

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For more delicious salad recipes, purchase the book below:

Jessica Elliott Dennison Salad Feasts
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Recipe excerpted with permission from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison. Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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