Winter is typically the season for hearty comfort foods that simmer for hours in the crockpot. But there’s plenty of fresh and healthy winter produce to enjoy. Take advantage of the season’s fruits and vegetables in this bright and healthy Winter Crunch Salad.
This easy vegan Winter Crunch Salad is a great way to enjoy some of the best seasonal vegetables and fruit in a simple, flavor-packed dish. There’s nothing like a colorful, heart-healthy salad to bring warmth to your plate, even during the coldest months.
How to Serve Vegan Winter Crunch Salad
One of the great things about this healthy plant-based recipe is its versatility. It makes a wonderfully refreshing lunch to take on the go. Or, Winter Crunch Salad is a nice side dish to serve alongside a hearty winter meal.
You can even make it ahead of time! Just be sure to keep the dressing on the side until just before serving to keep everything crunchy.
This recipe is keto-friendly, vegan and naturally gluten-free. That’s why it makes such a crowd-pleasing menu option for entertaining.
If you’re planning to serve this refreshing winter salad alongside a healthy and hearty entrée, try some of these favorites from the blog:
- Homemade falafel with tahini sauce, made with chickpeas, chopped parsley, minced garlic and zesty fresh lemon juice.
- Veggie-packed curried Pumpfu Stirfy, a delicious blend of pumpkin seed tofu, crunchy veggies and curry spice, served atop your choice of grain.
How to Make Easy Winter Crunch Salad
This winter produce salad is such a delight during the colder months. It’s packed with zippy citrus, crisp greens and veggies and crunchy almonds for protein. Everything is tied together with a classic vinaigrette.
And the best part is how easy it is to make. Simply wash, chop and toss your produce in the flavorful maple vinaigrette.
I like to chop the radicchio, romaine and endive heads before rinsing them to loosen the leaves and expose any dirt that might be hiding between the layers.
To cut up fennel, start by removing the woody stalks. Then trim off the bottom and use a paring knife to remove the core. Then slice the bulb in half and further into thin slices. Fennel can be a bit tough, so it’s best to slice the veggie as thin as you can, especially for raw salads. If you have one, a mandolin is useful here to get super thin slices.
Add the chopped lettuce and fennel to a big mixing bowl, along with orange slices, almonds and carrots. It’s best to choose a large bowl with extra room so you can toss the salad well.
You can mix the salad up to this point the night before if you want to save time before serving. Just keep the dressing on the side to keep your veggies extra crunchy.
How to Make a Zesty Winter Vinaigrette
This salad’s crisp vegetables, crunchy almonds and juicy mandarin oranges are the total package. But don’t forget the classic and healthy vinaigrette that brings the winter produce to a new level.
You can mix up this dressing ahead of time. I like to make it in a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Simply add all of the ingredients and shake it up well.
And if you can’t get enough of the maple dijon dressing, it’s a great go-to vinaigrette to dress up salads all year long. I especially love it on this salad of bitter lettuces and juicy oranges.
This Winter Crunch Salad’s beautiful colors are sure to delight the eyes, while its crunchy taste and incredible blend of flavors will absolutely please the palate. Here’s to a happy, healthy and tasty winter season!
Ingredient Notes to Make Winter Crunch Salad
When it comes to buying the fresh produce to make Winter Crunch Salad, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- When buying fennel, smaller bulbs tend to be sweeter, while larger bulbs are more tender. If you’re eating raw, you may prefer the smaller, sweeter option.
- Select radicchio and Belgian endive heads that are crisp and firm. Endive tips should be a pale yellow-green color.
- I love almonds for their crunch, creaminess and high protein content. If you don’t have almonds on hand or prefer a different nut, you can easily sub in walnuts, pecans or even hazelnuts. All are heart-healthy snacks when eaten in moderation. Almonds have more protein and antioxidants from vitamin E per serving than some of the other nuts, while walnuts provide more omega 3s.
- It’s not always easy to find perfect oranges. Make sure the skin is unblemished and bright. The orange should feel heavy and firm in your palm. Another kind of citrus, such as navel oranges or grapefruit will also work in this salad.
- In case you’ve never used it before, champagne vinegar is similar to wine vinegar and can be found in most grocery stores.
- I recommend maple syrup for the vinaigrette. It has a signature flavor and it’s packed with health-boosting vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for a low sugar or sugar-free salad dressing, you can omit the maple syrup or opt for a different sweetener, although the dressing will miss that special maple flavor.