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13 Winter Salads That Will Make You Forget All About Mac 'n' Cheese

These hearty salads might just make you want to give up pot roasts and casseroles for good
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Let's talk about winter hunger. We don't know if it's due to the lack of daylight or the brutal weather, but winter hunger pangs are the realest. Don't even think about offering us a wimpy spinach salad. Get outta here with those steamed veggies. Winter appetites call for buttery mashed potatoes, cheesy noodles and other dairy- and carb-laden comfort foods.

Of course, those same dishes that warm our bellies also expand them, which sent us in pursuit of a happy medium: the perfect winter salad. Winter salad, unlike its warm-weather counterpart, should offer stick-to-your ribs heartiness, yet still contain good-for-you fruits and veggies that keep us from spinning into a shame spiral after every meal. They can be warm salads, and ideally they help us make the most of winter and fall produce.

So after searching the far corners of the internet, we came up with this list of our favorite winter salad ideas. These winter salad recipes are so filling and delicious, even your husband will ask for seconds. And who knows, after you make your way through the list, maybe that mac 'n' cheese will become a distant memory.

Images via stephinthyme.com & yummybeet.com

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Rainbow Quinoa Salad
You'll barely notice that this colorful salad is chock-full of nutritional superstars (hello, beets and spinach), thanks to flavorful toppings like goat cheese, pomegranates and pistachios.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked red quinoa
2 cups chopped pickled or regular cooked beets
1 cup pomegranate arils
4 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup crushed or chopped pistachios
2 cups chopped apples
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
Green onions or fresh herbs to taste (optional)
Dressing of choice

Directions:
Combine quinoa, beets, pomegranate arils, goat cheese, pistachios, herbs, apples and spinach. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to five days. When you're ready to serve, toss with your favorite vinaigrette.

Image via pinchofyum.com

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Pearl Couscous Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted butternut squash is as much a cold-weather staple as snowflakes and roaring fires. And, when you pair it with comforting, pasta-like couscous, you practically guarantee that you'll curl up by the hearth with a full stomach.

Serves: 4 to 5

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-1/2 cups dry pearl couscous, cooked according to package directions
3 heaping cups baby spinach
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Dressing:
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the diced butternut squash on a baking sheet, toss in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread squash out in an even layer. Roast squash for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing as needed. While the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the pearl couscous. In a large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients.

To make the dressing, add the orange juice, mustard, garlic powder, honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to a mason jar. Screw on the lid, and shake until the olive oil combines with the other ingredients. Add the dressing to the salad, and serve.

Image via thelittlespicejar.com

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Brussels Sprout Salad With Pomegranate, Walnuts and Jalapeño
While you're cranking up the heat in your home, crank it up in your salad too, by adding some jalapeño to this filling winter salad. It'll warm up your insides without adding to your electric bill.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts
10 to 12 ounces Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 to 2 jalapeños, minced
Olive oil
White balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place walnuts on a sheet pan. Toast for seven to 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove from oven. Place in tea towel. Rub together to remove skins. Transfer walnuts to strainer and shake to remove excess skin. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Meanwhile, peel the Brussels sprouts: Chop off the end of each sprout, pick leaves off of the stem end and discard the stem. Using a paring knife, core the sprout the way you would when removing the white part of the strawberry around the stem. Discard the core. With your fingers, gently pull the sprout apart, removing the leaves as you go.

Add a tablespoon of kosher salt to the pot of water. Add the sprouts to the water and cook for 45 seconds. Drain. Run under cold water. Spin dry. Place sprouts in a large salad bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, one of the minced jalapeños, and the chopped walnuts. Season with salt to taste. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar over top.

Image via alexandracooks.com

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Leftover Turkey Salad With Creamy Orange Poppy Dressing
'Tis the season where turkey is in abundance -- but a girl can only eat so many turkey sandwiches. Thankfully, this creative salad recipe gives us all a reprieve from standard leftover creations.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1 cup leftover cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
1 avocado, diced
3 clementines, sections cut in half
1 large endive, julienned
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
1/2 cup raw broccoli florets, chopped finely
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Dressing
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4 teaspoon guar gum

Directions
In a large mixing bowl add cooked turkey, avocado, clementine, endive, cranberries, broccoli, raisins, parsley and walnuts, and mix well. Set aside. Put all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until well incorporated. Serve immediately, or leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Image via healthyfoodie.com

BY MARY SQUILLACE | JAN 3, 2018 | SHARES
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