When it's freezing out, the last thing you probably want to eat is a cold salad — and we don't blame you. But that's all going to change when you take a bite of one of these plant-based picks. Every colorful salad is served warm or topped with a freshly cooked ingredient. And whether you desire a side or entree salad or a recipe with or without meat, there's something here for everyone. Bon appetit!
1. Asian Chicken Stir-Fry Salad
Frankly, you don't have to decide between a stir-fry and a salad. You can have them both at once in this Asian-inspired recipe! You'll quickly stir-fry chicken with bell pepper and onion and add it to coleslaw mix. Finally, sprinkle with a sesame-lime vinaigrette, peanuts and cilantro. No rice is required, making this a carb-friendly meal. And because this slaw bursts with cabbage, it contains loads of vitamins K, C and B-6. The glucosinolates in cabbage can also help prevent certain types of cancer, including both colon and prostate cancers.
Read more: Asian Chicken Stir-Fry Salad Recipe
2. Vegan Taco Salad With Skillet Beans
Here's a fun salad full of Mexican flair. Think of it as deconstructed vegetarian tacos. All you'll do is heat up black beans with pico de gallo in a skillet; toss the warm bean mixture with lettuce, blue corn tortilla chips and cilantro; and then sprinkle generously with avocado. It's one of those salads that you'll make again and again because it's both scrumptious and superfast to prepare. As a bonus, every single ingredient is packed with digestion-promoting fiber.
3. Sizzling Steakhouse Salad
You don't need to have a steak as big as your plate in order to enjoy the delectableness of beef. A well-presented four-ounce serving can be truly satisfying, especially when you slice it and serve it as the star ingredient atop a beautiful salad. And it's gussied up even more with sprinkles of Gorgonzola cheese and black pepper. To make this salad better yet, go with grass-fed beef. It'll have more heart-friendly omega-3s and vitamin E than its conventionally raised counterpart. And compared to conventional operations, grass-fed meat production is far better for the environment!
Read more: Sizzling Steakhouse Salad Recipe
4. Warm Italian Pasta Salad With Charred Broccoli and Bell Pepper
Pasta salad is typically served chilled, but not this recipe. All you'll need is a grill or grill pan. There's no rinsing of cooked pasta here: You'll simply toss freshly cooked whole-grain fusilli with red wine vinaigrette, onions, broccoli, red bell pepper and pepperoncini. But that's not the whole story! For a bit of smokiness, you'll char the broccoli and bell pepper before adding them in. And don't forget to finish with fresh basil — it'll add sweet herbal notes to this vegan pasta.
5. Warm Lemony Bulgur Salad With Roasted Carrot Coins and Dill
This warm bowl of goodness is filled with health-protective beta carotene from the carrot coins. Fortunately, there's more than just good nutrition here — it's a bowlful of deliciousness. The carrots are caramelized to bring out their full flavors. It's also seasoned perfectly and includes fresh dill, scallions and lemon juice. And don't worry about spending an hour prepping this salad. Unlike most whole grains, bulgur wheat is already steamed, crushed and dried. So it essentially just needs to be rehydrated. That can be done in 20 minutes or less!
6. Sauteed Citrus Salad
Salads don't need to be based exclusively on leafy greens. In fact, they can be about practically any food you want. For this recipe, oranges play the key role in this side salad that does "double duty" as a dessert salad. To make it special, you'll saute vitamin C-rich orange slices in olive oil until delightfully caramelized. To transform it into a finished salad, you'll sprinkle with Champagne vinegar, goat cheese, fresh pomegranate arils, mint leaves and black pepper. The pomegranate arils give it that extra something special by offering a brilliant pop of color and hint of tanginess. Pomegranate arils are also low in calories and high in satiating fiber.
Read more: Sauteed Citrus Salad Recipe
7. Organic Ham and Egg Breakfast Bistro Salad
Salad for breakfast? Most definitely! This ham and egg bistro salad is a deliciously nutritious way to start your day. But don't just serve this in the morning; serve it anytime as an all-day breakfast entree. You'll get high-quality protein from the egg and organic ham. If you prefer to go meat-free, swap the ham for naturally smoked mozzarella cheese. Pair it with seasonal fruit and a whole-grain roll to make it a satisfying meal.
8. Roasted Red Grapes and Blue Cheese Salad
Grapes are one of those fruits that are perfect just as they are. But they're also rather magical when they're roasted for about 15 minutes. So add a little abracadabra to your next meal by serving this sweet-and-savory arugula salad that's topped with roasted seedless grapes, crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts. Not only will this salad steal the spotlight, it'll win over your heart — literally! Grapes contain polyphenols that promote cardiovascular health.
9. Cherry Tomato and Spinach Salad Saute
Eating for one? Here's a quick and simple salad just for you. To make this one really pop, use a colorful mix of cherry or grape tomatoes. You'll saute them with a sliced garlic clove just until heated through and toss them with balsamic vinegar, fresh baby spinach, sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. You won't actually cook the spinach; it'll just be warmed and delicately wilted. Interestingly, you'll be able to better absorb the non-heme iron in spinach by enjoying the vitamin C-containing tomatoes along with it!
Read more: Cherry Tomato and Spinach Salad Saute Recipe
10. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
This festive salad adds cheer to any drab winter day. It's full of colors, textures and good-for-you vegetables. You'll find a blend of sweet, savory, nutty, spicy and even tangy notes that all complement each other. And while it boasts complex flavors, this vegan salad recipe is actually a cinch to make. You'll roast diced butternut squash and serve it on dressed arugula with pistachios and dried cranberries. Pure maple syrup in the vinaigrette creates an almost candy-like accent. Yum!
Read more: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad Recipe
What Do YOU Think?
Do you eat leafy salads regularly all year long or just when the weather is warm? What's your favorite warm salad? Which of these recipes would you try? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!