Crunchy and Beautiful Winter Salad
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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.
Tips & Tricks
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
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Crunchy and Beautiful Winter Salad
- 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.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
this salad looks gorgeous! Definitely need to give it a try soon! Where are your backdrop boards from because this one is stunning!! Keep up the amazing recipes!!
Thanks so much Kasey! The board in this photo was made by Erickson. Cheers!
Christmas dinner for 26…Was a huge hit!!! Not only is this salad so beautiful the flavors together are amazing…it is a salad that feels good when your eating it! I did not include the anchovies, substituted the garlic w/shallots and added just a dollop of Greek yogurt to the dressing. a beautiful elegant, sophisticated salad! Thank you! (FYI I thru the recipe away after my daughter and i made it…a bit time consuming, but after seeing the beauty of it and the taste of it..i dug it back out of the trash to be sure i printed out the right one! Definitely a keeper and a remake!
Also did not add the red onion!
Beautiful! So happy you enjoyed it Marianna!
This salad was served with Christmas dinner. The bitterness of the radicchio and celeriac and sweetness of the finocchio along with the creamy dressing and crunch of the pomegranates…well…one guest devoured it all once. Funny thing…I forgot to add evoo to my dressing.
Good thing I “over shop” for ingredients. I made it again, the day after Christmas, and we didn’t leave anything in the bowl!
Thanks, Karen and Happy Holidays!
Yes – always a good idea to overshop! So happy you made this and everyone enjoyed (even without the EVOO!) Happy holidays to you xo
Made this to bring to a friend’s for dinner. Huge hit! That dressing is such a nice change. Had to improvise since pomegranates are out of season; used dried cherries for the tartness and sunflower seeds for the crunch. Definite keeper!
I love these wintery salads! This dressing will be a nice change from what i usually put on mine!
that celery root is staring into my soul
The salad is stunning. We’ve been getting such great greenhouse grown lettuces at the farmers market. I look forward to trying the recipe!
El-How lucky you are to have a winter farmer’s market! It tempers this beast of a winter to have stuff grown in a greenhouse. I could venture into Union Square to the market but haven’t been up to the trek…early spring for sure.
That sounds like a wonderful winter salad and I happen to have a head of radicchio and a lonely celery root waiting to be put to good use in the fridge right now!
Those celery roots do get lonely, poor things. Hope you make the best of yours.