We've waxed on about the Instant Pot for months now—its ability to whip up fall-off-the-bone chicken piccata at the press of a button, to make a simple pot of chili taste like it's been simmering for hours, and to turn canned crushed tomatoes into a decadent bolognese sauce. That said, every winter, there reaches a point when we've had our fill of starchy comfort foods and feel the urge to shelve the convenient kitchen appliance in the pursuit of meals that aren't so heavy. Enter winter salads.
Although spring is still months away (and we're impatiently awaiting the return of radishes, peas, and asparagus), there's still plenty seasonal winter fruits and veggies just begging to be drenched in delicious salad dressing available in the produce aisle. Spanning a pomegranate avocado salad with candied walnuts to a sweet potato noodle salad with creamy chipotle miso sauce, the winter salad recipes below are so delicious that they might just inspire you to unplug your slow cookers, crockpots, and yes, your Instant Pots, too.
Pomegranate Avocado Salad With Candied Walnuts
The Recipe: Pomegranate Avocado Salad With Candied Walnuts
The Hero Winter Ingredient: The persimmons. The winter fruit's bright orange color and soft velvety texture really shine when paired with creamy, salty, funky blue cheese in this salad.
The Pro Tip: "I know blue cheese is not for everyone, so if you'd like use to another cheese, I think crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese would both be delicious," offers recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli Salad
The Recipe: Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli Salad
The Hero Winter Ingredient: Simply roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, broccoli is taken to new heights when paired with aromatic garlic, salty feta, and tangy lemon.
The Pro Tip: The lemony balsamic dressing is key here, notes recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "It adds fresh flavor and keeps the salad from being boring and dry."
Cranberry Roasted Butternut Persimmon Salad
The Recipe: Cranberry Roasted Butternut Persimmon Salad
The Hero Winter Ingredient: The roasted butternut squash. Seasoned with maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of cayenne pepper, this is not your average winter squash.
The Pro Tip: "You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature, but my personal favorite it to keep the greens and persimmons cold and have everything else warm," confesses recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "It's oddly the perfect balance."
Celery Pear and Hazelnut Salad
The Recipe: Celery Pear and Hazelnut Salad
The Hero Winter Ingredient: Filled with celery, fennel, and hazelnuts, this salad is brimming with winter produce—but the juicy pears with their perfectly ripe texture are decidedly the hero ingredient in this recipe.
The Pro Tip: "Prep all of the components for this salad a day or two ahead of time, and once it's dressed and on [the] table the celery and fennel will stay crunchy (unlike lettuce)," advises recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper. "It's the perfect make-ahead dish and travels really well, too."
Maple Roasted Squash Salad
The Recipe: Maple Roasted Squash Salad
The Hero Winter Ingredient: The acorn squash, which is brushed with maple syrup before being roasted until impossibly sweet and tender.
The Pro Tip: Garnish with bright pomegranate arils for a pop of tang and color and crunchy pepitas for added texture before serving.
Roasted Beet Salad with Chèvre Green Goddess Dressing
The Hero Winter Ingredient: Beets in a beautiful range of bright purple, pink, and yellow hues not only look incredible but also taste divine alongside sweet roasted carrots in this delectable salad.
The Pro Tip: Top "this salad with a goat cheese green goddess dressing, [packed] with herbs, and plenty of garlic," recommends recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper.
Buffalo Cauliflower Salad With Tahini Ranch
The Recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower Salad With Tahini Ranch
The Hero Winter Ingredient: Seasoned with a Buffalo-style sauce and just a sprinkle of smoked paprika for added heat, this roasted cauliflower will have you coming back for seconds (and thirds).
The Pro Tip: "It's definitely crucial to get a Buffalo-style hot sauce here," notes recipe creator Laura of The First Mess. "I can't totally explain the flavour nuances of sauces in the Buffalo-style, but there's a heavy emphasis on salt and tanginess at work."
Sweet Potato Noodle Salad With Creamy Chipotle Miso Sauce
The Hero Winter Ingredient: The butternut squash noodles. Beautiful in color, crunchy in texture, these noodles offer a whole new way to enjoy the popular piece of winter produce beyond roasting.
The Pro Tip: "If you don't have a spiralizer, you could follow this handy tutorial from Food52 for julienning the sweet potatoes instead," offers recipe creator Laura of The First Mess.
Kale Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw With Pine Nut Parm
The Hero Winter Ingredient: A mixture of hearty winter greens—kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts—lays the crunchy foundation for this cravable salad, which is topped with a decadently creamy (vegan!) dressing.
The Pro Tip: "The dressing is sunflower seed-based because I appreciate how affordable it is," explains recipes creator Laura of The First Mess. "The seeds' ability to get surprisingly creamy when soaked and blended up is pretty wild."