Salad. The very word connotes health. There are few better ways to rev up your body’s detox process than to add plenty of colour to your plate from a well-composed salad. Who doesn’t feel a little bit healthier after eating a salad?
Indeed, research shows that going bigger on veggies—both raw and cooked—can boost a healthy lifespan. Problem is, munching on the same cold salads every day can be tiresome, to say the least. The solution to salad burnout? Turn up the heat.
Like their cool counterparts, warm salads can be overrun with the nutrient-dense ingredients you’re trying to eat more of. But because they contain cooked elements—think roasted veggies, simmered grains, or heated dressing—they can be more exciting to eat as well as hearty and satisfying enough to be considered main-dish worthy. This is the motivation you need to once again make vegetables the cornerstone of your meals and reap the health benefits of doing so.
Pivot to these cozy early spring salads that are, without question, hot stuff. They’re most certainly not your standard bowl o’ greens!
Carrots, whose earthy sweetness is intensified in the oven, are an inspiring and eyesome stand-in for grains in this lively gluten-free version of a classic Lebanese side dish. You can serve the tabbouleh salad on a bed of freekeh or quinoa for a more substantial dish. If za’atar is not available, you may season the carrots with Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence.
This plant-based BLT pasta salad recipe is an exciting twist on the classic sandwich. There’s no actual bacon here, but that’s hardly a missed omission. Packed with smoky tempeh, warm tomato dressing, and creamy avocado, it hits all the flavour and texture pleasure points. It’s a great dish to bring to a potluck as a vegan-friendly main. For a simpler preparation, look for tempeh that is pre-flavoured.
This virtuous salad is reminiscent of what you’d be served at a well-reviewed bistro. The process of oven-blasting the vegetables serves to intensify their naturally occurring flavours by drawing out excess moisture, leaving behind a new, and improved, concentrated taste. And when caramelized veggies are paired with lacy greens, silky poached egg, and a mustard-forward dressing, you have a salad that wins. For a special finishing touch, garnish egg with a pinch of smoked salt.
The sweet-tart warm blueberry dressing is a wonderful counterpoint to the earthy elements of this simple yet satisfying salad. All the cooked elements of this salad—berry dressing, chicken, and farro—can be prepared ahead of time and then assembled for a quick weeknight meal. If farro is not available, other grains, including spelt berries, sorghum, or quinoa, can be used.
Who says meatballs are just for pasta and red sauce? These curry fish balls are an exciting focal point for this salad inspired by traditional Asian flavours. The raw greens and herbs deliver freshness to the salad, while the sweet and nutty-tasting black rice adds a visual pop. If you can’t use black rice, long-grain brown rice can stand in.
Black, pearly lentils serve as a springboard for a highly nutritious salad that seems more sophisticated than its ease of prep would suggest. You want a lot of broccoli in this dish, so if only small heads are available, use two bunches. French green lentils also hold their shape with cooking, so they would be an adequate substitution for black lentils.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.