Winter Salad with Tangy Homemade Vinaigrette

This Winter Salad is hearty and delicious, full of rich, earthy texture and warm flavors. The tangy homemade vinaigrette adds a tart and tangy finish.

salad with pomegranates, apples, carrots, pecans and goat cheese on a white platter, metal spoons

I love a good meal salad. Tons of chopped veggies, fruits, cheese and nuts topped with a tandy dressing is absolutely the way to my heart. Try topping yours with Homemade Croutons or some Baked Chicken for a hearty meal salad and play around with the ingredients to make something you truly love. Or serve as a meal starter or appetizer.

What’s in a Winter Salad?

There are a lot of ingredients in this salad, which is what I love about it! Everything blends so nicely together and there’s the perfect blend of hearty, crunchy, creamy, tangy and sweet.

  • Greens – A blend of kale, napa cabbage and spring mix lettuce is the perfect base and blend of texture. Big chop, small chop, totally your call.
  • Shredded carrots – Truth be told, this is just as much for the vibrant orange color as it is for the crunch.
  • Apples – You want something crisp with a good bite to it. I like Gala or Honeycrisp.
  • Goat cheese – My all-time favorite cheese adds a smooth and creamy quality. If you’re not a fan, you can swap it for blue cheese or Feta.
  • Candied pecans or walnuts – For sweetness and crunch.
  • Pomegranate seeds – These are actually called pomegranate arils, which I didn’t know until researching for this recipe!

How to Make the Best Winter Salad

  1. Massage the kale. If you’ve ever eaten kale you know that the texture can be tough and hard to chew. To soften it, add a little bit of lemon juice and olive oil and let it soak, then massage gently with your hands. This will help to tenderize the leaves and make it more pleasant to eat.
  2. Combine ingredients. Mix all of the winter salad ingredients together in a large bowl. I usually save the pomegranate seeds and cheese for topping individual bowls.
  3. Make the dressing. This is easiest in a mason jar or with a salad dressing shaker. Put in all of the ingredients and shake until it’s all well combined. Dress the salad and serve.

collage depicting steps for making winter salad

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make Ahead – If you want to prepare your winter salad ahead of time, chop all of the ingredients and store separately until ready to serve. Wait until you’re ready to put everything together to massage the kale.

Storing leftovers – Unfortunately a mixed salad like this will wilt within a couple of hours. If you think you will have leftovers, I suggest letting everyone add their own dressing so you can store the leftovers without. the kale and napa cabbage can be store for several days without wilting, even with the dressings, so another option is to omit the spring mix. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Winter Salad Recipe Notes

  • Everything in this winter salad is customizable! Feel free to add different fruits, roasted sweet potatoes or other veggies, even croutons or sliced chicken or shrimp.
  • Dressing can be a personal thing – let everyone add their own. Some like a little, some like a lot.
  • Nuts are completely optional, especially if there’s an allergy. For the same crunch, consider adding sunflower seeds instead.

white plates with salad on them, forks, pomegranate seeds

More Salads to Fall in Love With

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Winter Salad

This Winter Salad is hearty, delicious and full of rich, earthy texture and flavors. A tangy homemade vinaigrette adds a smooth, tart finish.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 426kcal

Ingredients
  

Salad:

  • 4 cups finely chopped Kale
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups spring salad mix or your favorite salad blend
  • 1 cup shredded green/Napa cabbage or brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tart crisp apples, cored and diced (like Gala or Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup candied pecans or walnuts
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils

Dressing:

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Place the kale in a large salad bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and massage gently with your hands to soften.
  • Add the salad mix, cabbage, carrots, apples and pecans to the bowl and toss to combine.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or sealed jar and whisk or shake vigorously or shake together in a lidded glass jar for about a minute. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
  • Top with the crumbled goat cheese and pomegranate. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Make Ahead - Chop all of the ingredients and store separately until ready to serve. Wait until you're ready to put everything together to massage the kale. 
  • Storing leftovers - Unfortunately a mixed salad like this will wilt within a couple of hours. If you think you will have leftovers, I suggest letting everyone add their own dressing so you can store the leftovers without. The kale and napa cabbage can be stored for several days without wilting, even with the dressings, so another option is to omit the spring mix. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 
  • Dressing can be a personal thing - let everyone add their own. Some like a little, some like a lot. 
  • Nuts are completely optional, especially if there's an allergy. For the same crunch, consider adding sunflower seeds instead. 

 

Nutrition

Calories: 426kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 7gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 311mgPotassium: 469mgFiber: 4gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 8597IUVitamin C: 70mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 2mg
Keyword winter salad

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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