The Best Winter Salad and Delicious, Healthy New Year Recipes

The Best Winter Salad |

Did you ever see the movie ‘Willy Wonka’?  Do you remember the scene when the contestants and their accompanying parent made it through the madcap start of their journey to arrive in the Wonka inner sanctum with the chocolate river, edible foliage and Oompa Loompas?  Willy Wonka told them they could eat anything they chose and most dove in as though they’d been on a hunger strike before coming.

Augustus Gloop, the rotund, gluttonous German boy, shoved the candy edibles in his mouth so spastically it was uncomfortable to watch.  It seemed to expose some deep-seated inner issue.  Though not quite as ferocious, that is how I am with salad once the New Year arrives.  I don’t embarrass myself in front of fellow diners but am ravenous for salad.  But for winter salad.  There is something digital about the end of December, leaving me crawling figuratively on hands and knees, from the Land of Sweets into a healthier food phase.  It’s not even conscious, and it’s not about trying to lose weight or get healthier (which is a great side effect); it’s a bit like having been lost in a desert, emerging parched and desperate for water.  Only it’s greens I seek.

Tip:  How to Remove Seeds from a Pomegranate.  Method 1: cut the pomegranate in half, turn sliced side toward a mixing bowl and hit the unsliced side with a mixing spoon.  The seeds pop right out.  Method 2: Slice the pomegranate in half and using a small dinner fork, gently pry the seeds loose careful not to puncture them.  Remove any membrane that comes out with the seeds.
Tip: How to Remove Seeds from a Pomegranate. Method 1: cut the pomegranate in half, turn sliced side toward a mixing bowl and hit the unsliced side with a mixing spoon. The seeds pop right out. Method 2: Slice the pomegranate in half and using a small dinner fork, gently pry the seeds loose careful not to puncture them. Remove any membrane that comes out with the seeds.

I am currently obsessed with a particular winter salad.  Cold weather baby greens adorned with slices of red onion, Seckel pears and pomegranate seeds with a drizzle of Apple Cider Vinaigrette.  The variety of heartier greens are loaded with flavor and visual presence; arugula, baby red chard, and spinach. The young varieties of these greens are soft and dense with nutrition as well.  The pomegranate (full of antioxidants) gives some sweetness but it’s really their crunch which I love.  The onions add a spice and full flavor. The diminutive Seckel pears also contribute sweetness with crunch.  I love everything about it; the unkempt look of it, the smell, the flavors, its variety and balance.  Because it’s made with cold weather greens it slips naturally into our daily seasonally-inspired meals. (Kids love it too!)

the Best Winter Salad

I’ve included a basic Apple Cider Vinaigrette recipe but two others that are also delicious and perfect for Winter Salads:  Tangerine Balsamic Vinaigrette and Apple Cider Beet Vinaigrette

Pomegranate and Pear Winter Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 side salad (double ingredients for an entrée portion; or multiply for number being served) and ½ cup of dressing (extra may be reserved for future salads)

This simple Winter Salad requires almost no preparation is full of flavor and nutrition. Baby winter greens, red onion, pomegranate seeds and Seckel pear slices in a simple Apple Cider Vinaigrette deliver visual appeal, flavor, texture and great nutrition too!


    Ingredients for 1 serving of Salad (side salad size):
  • 1 cup Mixed Baby Greens: Spinach, red chard, green chard, arugula*,rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons Pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Red Onion, (see below for cutting instructions)
  • ½ Seckel pear, seeded and sliced vertically
  • Ingredients for Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Juice
  • ¼-1/2 cup quality Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


    Instructions for the Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
  1. In a jar with a lid, combine apple cider vinegar, apple juice, and ¼ cup olive oil. Seal jar and shake vigorously to combine. Taste the dressing and adjust with more oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste. Note: Generally the proportions of vinegar to oil in this type of dressing are 1 portion vinegar to 2 portions oil. I love more even portions so the recipe starts there and you can add more oil to change the flavor if you prefer. Apple cider vinegar, especially mixed with apple juice don’t tend to be as strong as other vinegars to me.
  2. Instructions to assemble Winter Salad:
  3. Cut a 1/4 inch thick slice from the middle section of a medium red onion and then cut the slice into ¾ inch long pieces. Can also be chopped if preferred.
  4. Place greens on the plate to be served. Layer onion segments, pear slices and pomegranate seeds on top. Drizzle very lightly with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. If making a larger portion, the salad can be tossed with the dressing and served if easier.


*Organic Girl brand makes a wonderful greens mix called ‘Super Greens’. It comes pre-packaged, is washed three times and is always fresh in my experience.

the Best Winter Salad

In the spirit of a delicious and healthy start to the year I’m sharing some more recipes that might be of interest.  To be clear, it has to taste good for me to be interested.  I’m as keen on healthy eating as the next girl but not unless it’s a visual and flavorful celebration!


Old School Minestrone soup

Split Pea Soup with Red Wine and Ham

French Potato Leek Soup

Roasted Pumpkin and Cannellini Bean soup

Anasazi Bean and Roasted Chile soup

Yankee Beware soup

Spicy Mustard Mint Mizuna salad with Tangerine-Balsamic

Arugula Apple-Beet Candied Pecan Salad

Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad


Lavender Roasted Potatoes

Homemade Applesauce (no sugar)

Three ingredient No Bake Berry Tart (any berries can be used)


Peanut Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

Walnut Meyer Lemon Pesto with Brown Rice Penne

Wild Rice Sumac Cayenne Wings

Lemon Roast Chicken

Frittata with Garlic Kale

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto (beans and Rice)

Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta

Coconut Water Infusions.  Publsihed with persmission from Emily Tan (
Coconut Water Infusions. Published with persmission from Emily Tan (


We hear it all the time ‘Drink More Water!’ but do you?  Living at altitude we especially notice when we don’t hydrate adequately.  One trick to make it easier is to infuse your water with herbs, fruits and/or vegetables.  In addition to Mint Water which I make all the time in the summer, I found a fabulous post about Infusing Coconut Water on Fuss Free Cooking.  Coconut Water is super hydrating, and who could pass up these gorgeous infusions?!

For more delicious suggestions, check out my Pinterest Board Healthy Goodness’ for no-compromise, beautiful food with big flavor!



  1. Mary says

    Your photography is always beautiful, but this salad is breathtakingly so. Gorgeous colors and it is a great shot too!

    • Toni Dash says

      I agree Kristi, completely. I love baby greens too because their flavor and texture is much more delicate but packed with nutrition. This salad comes together in the blink of an eye (good for me as sometimes if it takes too much work for the time I have, I won’t bother with salad).

    • Toni Dash says

      Mary you are so kind! I love the unkempt, tossled look of the salad and then to bite in with so many flavors and texture…I’m smitten!

  2. says

    Happy New Year! I adore pomegranates. What a fantastic pop of flavor (and color) for the salad. The three salad dressings sound fantastic too. I’m very intrigued by the tangerine one (being a citrus freak and all). I wish I shared the yen for greenery come new year, but that pull just isn’t as strong in me as it should be. Does it help that I always, always drink water? Even with my coffee on my desk now, there’s a glass of water alongside it, almost empty.

    • Toni Dash says

      YES, you are redeemed for your water consumption. One thing I found when really beginning to eat seasonally is my tastes change every season. Would never eat soup in summer and equally don’t think about berries and most salad in the winter. I think the desparate need to stuff greens in my mouth is related to the imbalance in December; rich, fattier foods, far less vegetables. I literally can barely stand it by New Year’s day!

  3. Melissa says

    This looks yummy. I love pomegranates and put them in my oatmeal in the morning (along with some fresh fruit). Delicious!!

  4. says

    Wonderful salad!! I love pomegranate seeds and the seeds are so easy to remove yourself but for those that don’t want to, “pom” now sells the seeds in a little jar at the market.


  5. says

    This is stunning! I love the colors, it just looks so crisp and vibrant and beautiful. The perfect pick-me-up on a dreary winter day.

    BTW, I got my Hobbit book in the mail, thank you again! It’s really silly and adorable, I love it!


  1. […] The Best Winter Salad  Honestly I am not a huge salad eater in the winter.  I can’t get enough of them in the summer months and then I seem to turn to soups as soon as a chill rests in the air.  There are so many nutritionally packed greens and fruits in season for the winter months I combined some I love into salads (with dressing recipes as well) and this is a favorite.  I love the unkempt look of it and it is bursting with flavor. […]

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