Abi’s wonderful winter salads

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Abi’s wonderful winter salads

Let’s face it, salads aren’t the first thing that come to mind when the mercury’s plummeted, but it’s time to change your thinking. Food editor Abigail Donnelly’s creative ideas will have you munching away on moreish salads in no time at all.

I think salads are a winner no matter the season, especially when you’re always on the lookout, as I am, for innovative new combinations, or revisiting – and sprucing up – old favourites like the classic Greek or crispy Waldorf salad.

My favourite right now is barley salad with sautéed baby rosa tomatoes and char-grilled baby marrows. The barley adds healthy, satisfying bulk and I simply season it with lemon juice and olive oil. Another great combination is roast red peppers with thin slices of char-grilled baby marrow.

That said, I’m quite a sucker for potato salads, especially a good cold one with dollops of shop-bought mayo and sprinkled with chopped boiled egg and gherkins. My idea of a fantastic hot potato salad involves roasting baby potatoes with olive oil and salt, then tossing them with grated Parmesan, sour cream and chopped parsley. I can’t resist the temptation of adding halved soft-boiled eggs on top, especially if you’re serving the salad with roast chicken or pork bangers.

At this time of year I also love to roast plenty of veggies and then leave them to cool down to room temperature before adding them to a selection of salad leaves. To bulk it up and make a good-for-you low GI salad, I add a can of drained chickpeas, a drizzle of Bulgarian yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of chilli. Or try this spicy salad with cannelini beans with golden sultanas.

Warm dressings make for an extremely delicious winter salad. Try heating olive oil and red wine vinegar with some finely chopped red onion. Add a pinch of sugar and pour the dressing over roast beetroot before adding feta and hot roast pecan nuts. If this sounds about right, try my beetroot and hazelnut salad.

Then there’s one of my favourites: soya sauce heated with grated ginger and garlic. I can eat it on just about anything but my best is over warm roast butternut, toasted sesame seeds and goat’s cheese with some rocket tossed in.

Lately, I’ve been using cauliflower in a number of different ways. It’s particularly delicious when roasted with cumin and allspice. Simply add a can of drained lentils and toss through some watercress. Then warm a glug of olive oil with lemon juice and wholegrain mustard and drizzle over the salad, which will slightly wilt the watercress. Also, try my lentil and coriander chilli salad with warm cauliflower florets.

And don’t forget your winter fruit, they make deliciously healthy salads. I use the oranges from my garden to make orange and hazelnut sala with avocado and ricotta or a really yummy orange and gorgonzola salad with toasted macadamias.

Here’s to a healthy winter! May these salads packed with flavour and nutrition warm your soul this chilly season.

Abigail Donnelly Article by: Abigail Donnelly

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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