Here Are 3 Ways I Warm Up My Salads in the Wintertime

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I resolved to pack a lot more vegetables into my meals this year, and an obvious assistant in this goal is the omnipresent lunch salad. There’s only one problem: salads are cold. And when I’m cold too, shivering at my desk with my hands wrapped around a mug of tea, the last thing I want is a bowl of chilly greens.

But there are a few easy tricks to warm up a salad, and I’ve been using these to help me eat (and love) my greens all winter long.

There is always a bag of greens in my refrigerator, and in the winter I often choose more hearty mixes of baby kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, and chard. These take well to the strategies below, wilting just enough but not too much to completely disappear into the bottom of the bowl.

3 Ways to Warm Up a Green Salad

  1. Heat up your dressing: The easiest approach. Warm your dressing — store-bought or homemade — in the microwave until it’s quite hot, then toss with your salad.
  2. Treat your salad like pasta: Taking the dressing idea one step further: why be limited to a traditional vinaigrette? Toss hearty greens with a few spoonfuls of bolognese or another pasta sauce like this chicken ragu, romesco, or even pesto. And, of course, heat the sauce up first!
  3. Toss with hot vegetables, beans, or grains: A good lunch salad probably has more in it than vegetables. I often mix in French lentils or cubes of roasted vegetables, like the brown butter rutabaga seen in the photo above. I heat up the mix-ins before tossing with the salad. This gives a wonderful mix of warm and cool in the salad and makes it more satisfying.

Do you have other ways to warm up a bowl of greens in the wintertime? I find that eating something warm keeps me more satisfied through the afternoon.