Who says winter lunches and dinners need to revolve around steaming stews, soups and roasts? Instead, try an epic winter salad that’s loaded with the season’s best produce. This fresh and colourful recipe is adaptable to any of your favourite cold weather add-ins: try cauliflower instead of Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds instead of dried cranberries, sliced chicken breast instead of chickpeas, crumble over feta to add richness and so much more. What you won’t want to change is the lip-smacking roasted garlic dressing with a hint of sweetness to tie it all together. 

The sturdiness of the vegetables used enable you to meal prep this on the weekend for a week of filling lunches or veg-forward dinners. Even if you’re cooking for one, make the entire recipe and reward yourself with something nourishing and delicious every day this week. 

Epic Kale Winter Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Salad
300g Brussels sprouts, tough ends removed and halved lengthwise
250g (1 large) beet, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 Yukon gold or 2 peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges or cubed
1 onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1 large or 2 regular cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn or shredded into manageable pieces
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds

Dressing
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
Roasted garlic, from above 

Directions:

1. For the salad, preheat oven to 400ºF. Add Brussels sprouts, beet, potatoes, onions and garlic to separate areas (to prevent the beets from staining the other vegetables) of one large or two medium rimmed baking sheets and evenly divide over olive oil, thyme and salt, and then toss vegetables to coat. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Squeeze the garlic out of its paper and smash to create a paste; reserve garlic paste for the dressing. 

2. For the dressing, in a medium glass jar to shake or bowl to whisk, combine all dressing ingredients, including the smashed garlic paste, from above. Shake or whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy (it’s okay if there are some small bits of roasted garlic – it’s sweet and won’t be pungent like a chunk of raw garlic would). 

3. Toss a portion of the dressing with the kale to coat and add to large platter, or divide among 4 to 6 individual salad bowls. Toss a portion of the dressing with the chickpeas and add to the platter or divide amongst bowls. Add a section of each of the roasted vegetables and drizzle over remaining dressing. Sprinkle everything with sunflower seeds and cranberries, and serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Alternatively, instead of composing the salad, toss everything together before serving.

Entertaining this season? May we suggest this show-stopping healthy grain bowl for a crowd (featuring mashed sweet potato and wine-baked tofu!). You’ll also love these 15 vegan roast alternatives for meat-free guests.