The Formula for a Seriously Satisfying Winter Salad


This salad.

I've casually talked about this salad before, but I wanted to actually dedicate a post to it so I would have it as a reference, and so more people could find it and enjoy it like I do!

Is it just me, or are salads kind of a rarity in the winter? In the summer I feel like I eat one almost every day because something cold, light and fresh just always sounds good. Once it starts to get snowy and cold outside, I gravitate towards soups & chilis, curries, roasted vegetables and sheet pan dinners a lot more.

I still find that salads in the winter can be satisfying with some key components though. It seems like there are two major complaints when it comes to making salad at home. 

1. They aren't filling.

2. It's hard to keep all of the fresh stuff on hand and use it before it goes bad. 

Salads can be inspired by what leftovers you have, or what herbs you need to use up. You don't have to be making a special grocery list for this stuff. Have trust in your pantry! And stop making sad salads with just lettuce, tomato and onion and instead make it interesting and something you look forward to eating. Don't forget to bulk it up with some protein like beans, chicken, canned fish - this is how you get staying power!

I created this infographic to show you the formula that I usually go through mentally when I'm building a winter salad.

salad infographic.png

And here is a recipe for my all-time favorite combo! I love the contrast between the cherries and the bleu cheese - these are two ingredients that I almost always have on hand. The dressing is really basic, and can be substituted with just about anything that you really like. 

Pair this with some seedy crackers or bread and you have yourself a satisfying lunch! 

Arugula, Cherry and Bleu Cheese Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 1 meal-sized serving | Prep Time: 10 minutes 


  • 2 large handfuls Arugula or Baby Kale Mix
  • 1 medium Carrot, grated
  • 1/3 cup Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Sour Cherries
  • 2 Tbsp Sliced Almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp Bleu Cheese Crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • to taste Salt & Pepper
  • optional Fresh Herbs, chopped


1. Layer the salad ingredients in order they are listed (greens to bleu cheese crumbles).

2. Make your dressing: mix vinegar, mustard and brown sugar in a small jar, then add oil, cover with lid and shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, along with any other fresh herbs you have on hand if desired.

3. Toss the salad with as much or little dressing as you prefer, then save any leftover dressing for later use.