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A fresh winter salad makes a beautiful side dish for your holiday table (or any day of the week)! Shaved fennel, romaine lettuce, radicchio, and thin-sliced celery root tossed in a creamy lemon dressing, topped with pomegranate seeds.
If you’re looking for new salad ideas, here’s a pretty winter salad recipe to enjoy through the cold days of the year. It’s an alternative to a classic green salad, and it’s packed full of freshness, crunch and tangy flavor.
This recipe will show you how to prepare a simple, seasonal salad featuring ingredients that are at their best in the colder months — radicchio, romaine lettuce, pomegranate, fresh fennel and celery root.
- Types of vegetables to use in winter salad
- Lemon dressing ingredients
- How to prep celery root for salad
- How to quickly seed a pomegranate
- How to customize your salad
Serve the salad in a large bowl and instantly add an uplifting jolt of color to the table — just what you need to help round the corner until springtime brings more green things!
What to use in a winter salad
- Celery root: Also called “celeriac”, this gnarly-looking vegetable tastes like a milder version of green celery and it keeps in the fridge for at least a month or more. It’s related to the green celery we all know, only it’s grown for its root end rather than the stalks. Celery root is a really delicious vegetable to get to know. If you don’t have celery root, substitute with 1 cup thinly sliced green celery.
- Radicchio: A type of Italian chicory. Radicchio in a salad has vibrant red leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Substitute about 1 cup shredded red cabbage if you like.
- Romaine lettuce: Salad green with sturdy, crunchy leaves. You can use light green romaine hearts for this salad.
- Fresh fennel: “Finocchio” in Italian, this edible bulb has a lovely anise flavor and sweet crunchy texture. You’ll use the entire bulb plus the fronds.
- Pomegranate seeds: Fresh pomegranate seeds add a lovely “pop” of juicy sweetness and crunch. You can easily replace them with 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries.
Creamy lemon dressing ingredients
The dressing for my winter salad is a creamy vinaigrette that you can simply shake in a mason jar. It’s boosted in flavor with a little anchovy (which you can omit). It will remind you of a lighter version of caesar salad dressing — it’s a great match for the assertive flavors of the radicchio and celery root.
Here’s what you need to make the dressing:
- Lemon: Fresh juice and zest
- White wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Creme fraiche or sour cream
- Garlic clove
- Anchovy: If you’re not an anchovy fan or want to keep this salad vegetarian, just omit it and add a pinch or two more salt.
How to prepare celery root for a salad:
- Use a large sharp knife to slice off the top and root end.
- Stand the celery root with one cut side down and remove the outer skin with the knife by slicing all around perpendicular to the cutting board.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice over the celery root to keep it from going brown, then slice it very thinly. Stack the slices and slice into 1/8-inch wide matchsticks.
How to quickly remove pomegranate arils
- Slice the pomegranate in half through the equator.
- Turn each half cut side-down over a bowl and smack it sharply with the back of wooden spoon – most of the seeds will fall out into the bowl.
Winter salad ideas and variations:
Make this salad your own! Here are some ideas and add-ins you might enjoy:
- Crumble blue cheese or feta cheese over the salad
- Add a handful or two of arugula greens, torn escarole or baby spinach
- Toss in citrus slices, like tangerine, orange or grapefruit
- Top the veggies with chopped nuts, such as pecans, pistachios or walnuts for more color and texture
- Add sliced pears, apples or fresh raspberries for a touch of sweetness
More winter salad recipes:
- Fennel Salad with Celery, Walnuts and Blue Cheese
- Arugula Salad with Pears and Goat Cheese
- Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Chimichurri
- Italian Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Lemon
Crunchy Winter Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate
- Grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons (60 g) crème fraiche or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon white wine or rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt plus more to taste
- 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and finely chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Make the salad:
- 1 bunch romaine hearts, washed, dried and torn or sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups (80 g) mixed greens, such as escarole, arugula and spinach
- 1 small head radicchio, sliced into ribbons
- 1 small celery root (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into matchsticks* see note below for instructions
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, stems trimmed and feathery fronds reserved for garnish
- ½ cup (82 g) fresh pomegranate arils
- ½ cup glazed walnuts, pecans or chopped pistachios
- To make the dressing, put the lemon zest, juice, creme fraiche, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, salt, garlic, anchovy and oil in a mason jar with a lid. Shake well, until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Make the salad
- Put the romaine, baby greens, radicchio, celery root and red onion in a large salad bowl.
- Peel the base of the fennel bulb with a vegetable peeler to remove the tougher outer layer. Slice the fennel very thinly using a sharp knife or shave on a mandoline. Add to the salad bowl.
- Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss gently.
- Transfer the salad to a serving plate. Drizzle with additional dressing and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and nuts. Garnish with fennel fronds.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- To prep celery root, use a large sharp knife to slice off the top and root end; stand the celery root with one cut side down and remove the outer skin with the knife by slicing all around perpendicular to the cutting board. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the celery root to keep it from going brown, then slice it very thinly. Stack the slices and slice to make matchsticks.
- Try this method for seeding a pomegranate: Slice in half through the equator, then turn each half cut side-down over a bowl; smack it sharply with the back of wooden spoon – the seeds will fall right out into the bowl.
- Substitute 1 cup shredded red cabbage for the radicchio and 1 cup thinly sliced celery stalks for the celery root, if you prefer.
- The lemon dressing will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated. Shake well to blend before using.