Katie's Healthy Bites: Winter Salads

Winter Greens

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A salad drizzled with Pear Walnut Dressing in a wooden bowl

Salads aren't just for summer -- there are plenty of ways to glorify your greens throughout the winter. Salads are a fun, colorful and creative way consume a diverse number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are essentials for a healthy you! Create your own savvy salads using this winter salad ingredient key, or take a bite of favorite salads from Food Network chefs.

The Base: Opt for crunchy, hearty winter lettuces and greens like kale, chard, chicory,radicchio, endive and frisee, or flavorful greens like peppery arugula.

Something Sweet: 'Tis the season for citrus fruits,  like oranges, blood oranges and grapefruits and specialty fruits like pomegranates. Hearty fruits like apples and pears are also great on greens. Craving summer flavors in the winter? Use dried fruits like cherries, apricots, mangos and cranberries to add some out-of-season sweetness. Fruits add antioxidant power to a salad as well as bright, beautiful colors.

Something Crunchy: Nuts are a great way to add texture and heart healthy fats. Try walnuts, almond slices, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, even pistachios and sesame seeds. Choose unsalted varieties to cut back on sodium.

Pantry Veggies: Many summer veggies are out of season, but you can still keep them in your salad-topping rotation if you opt for jarred roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes or pickled veggies. Winter root veggies are a great salad addition as well. Roast beets, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and hearty squash for a flavorful, nutrient-dense and filling addition to your creation.

Pack on the Protein: Make your salad a complete meal with a protein-rich topping. Nuts can do double-duty here, or try these other tasty proteins atop your greens: a hard-boiled, poached or fried egg (the drippy yolk is like a natural dressing), pungent cheeses like ricotta salata, shaved Parmesan, gorgonzola or goat cheese (a little goes a long way) or creamy beans like cannellini or bright-green edamame.  Shellfish pairs well with citrus, and meats like prosciutto and pancetta crisp up nicely and crumble as a perfectly salty topping to finish your masterpiece.

A Few Mix-and-Match Salad Toppings to Try:

• Poached egg with sun dried tomatoes, roasted potatoes and shaved Parmesan

• Roasted butternut squash with pumpkin seeds, white beans and ricotta salata

• Shaved fennel with grapefruit, pomegranate seeds and walnuts

More Winter Salad Recipes From Food Network Chefs:

TELL US: What are your favorite winter salad combinations?

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

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