How To Make A Winter Salad That You'll Actually Love

Do the greens at the grocery store this time of year NOT inspire you?

I mean between not knowing who's hands have touched them and knowing that they just don't taste fresh... it's hard to really get excited about greens from 2000 miles away.

I get you!  

You and I both know that veggies fresh from a real garden, any garden, yours or mine, taste so much better than what you find at the grocery store.  

Especially this time of year.

But in the deepest part of winter, it is much too cold for greens from the garden.  

Even our garden!  With a couple of feet of snow on the ground and temps below zero at night, our farm's greens in the hoop house are hibernating until March.  

Soon when it is a little milder and there's a little more sunlight, they'll start to grow again and will be harvestable for our Winter CSA and Preorder Buying Club customers...

But, in the meantime are you forced to go to the grocery store to get salad fixings?  No way, friend!

You can make a salad out of local veggies, even without the greens component!

Watch this!

Wait, what?


What is a salad, exactly?

It's easy to think that a salad is lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  And most of us probably have thought that way at some point in our lives, or still do.  I know I have!

So, I went to my trusty dictionary that my dad gave me when I was seven (yes, I still use it), and found the official definition:

salad (noun) a dish usually cold, of raw or sometimes cooked vegetables or fruits in various combinations, served with a dressing...

There you go!  Salads can really be anything you want them to be and can be made out of what you have on hand at the moment!



Homemade Winter Salads: going beyond lettuce, cucumbers. and tomatoes

At our house we avoid buying greens (or other produce, besides) from the grocery store.  Why would we when we're blessed with such a large larder of stored veggies to choose from?    

But, we are not starved from having salads, even in these frigid days of winter. 

In fact, quite the opposite!  We have a salad almost every day right through the winter, using what we have on hand from our own home grown veggies!

And they're a hit with everyone!  True story...

I was making a salad the other day at the kitchen counter, grating away, when a little blond head appeared at my elbow.  

My little daughter had sided up to check out what was going on.  

"Are you making kohlslaw, mama?" she sweetly asked.  

Before I could even answer, she was found reaching up and grabbing some freshly grated kohlrabi out of the bowl and stuffing it into her mouth.  And not just once, but Over and Over.

"Thank you for making this kohlslaw, mama." amid muffled eating sounds, "it's really good."  And she's not usually so complimenting at meal time, so this surprised me!

Mmmm.... "Can we make more kohlslaw?" has been the question of the day since we finished that salad recently!


How To Make A Winter Salad That You'll Actually Love

Use great tasting ingredients and get creative, leaving behind the narrow definition of salad as lettuce, cukes, and tomatoes!

Here are our family's favorite salads for the deepest of winter, when greens from the garden are unattainable and greens from the store are... well, less than exciting.


#1 Kohlslaw with Kohlrabi (Harriet's favorite)

We like to make a huge version of this in a four-quart bowl with a lid and keep it in the fridge for leftovers throughout the week. Easy and yummy!

For the slaw:

  • kohlrabi, bottom end cut off 1-2” up, peeled down to white flesh, and grated
  • apple, peeled and grated
  • carrots, peeled and grated
  • red onion, sliced thin or diced

For the dressing option 1 (creamy):

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp prepared mustard
  • celery seed to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing option 2 (light):

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1 TBLS vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red wine, whatever)
  • small dash of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

  • sliced green olives (optional)
  • fresh herb, minced (optional)


  1. Combine veggies and mix well.
  2. Cover with your choice of dressing and let stand at room temperature a couple of hours or marinate overnight in the fridge.
  3. Garnish if desired.


#2 Basic Beet Salad (with endless combinations)

As indicated below there are unlimited variations to this recipe.  Most recently we've been using beets, red onions, pecans, fresh cranberries, and feta cheese.  Give it a try!

  • Beets, whole
  • onions (or scallions), minced
  • nuts or seeds of choice, chopped
  • grated or chopped cheese, optional
  • fresh herb, chopped, optional
  • oil and vinegar dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil beets whole until knife pierces through easily.  Drain, cool, slip skins off.  Refrigerate until ready to make salad (optional).  Chop beets and combine with onions and optional ingredients.  Pour over dressing of 4 TBLS oil and 1 TBLS vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve or refrigerate.

We've also got a couple of other great beet salad recipes on the Beet Page of our Vegetable Gallery of Recipes.  If you've never been to the gallery before and you love veggies... you're in for a treat!  Go, check it out!


#3 Lemony Coleslaw (seriously so addicting that I found Gene in the office chowing on it at 9pm the other day...)

So good that I recommend making a lot at once because it won't last long...

  • 1 medium green cabbage, finely shredded, or minced
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of two lemons, or ¼ cup
  • ¼ tsp celery seed
  • Sweetener, salt and pepper to taste

Combine veggies in a large bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients into a dressing and pour over veggies. Toss to combine. Check salt and refrigerate until serving.


#4 Grated Beet and Carrot salad (Gene's specialty!)

Yes, you can eat beets raw, and try it!  With this recipe, you'll find they're delicious in a salad!

  • 1-2 cups raw beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2-3 cups carrots, shredded
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raisins, or to taste (or try dried cranberries)
  • 1-2 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 TBLS sour cream
  • 1 TBLS maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1-2 tsp poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Combine veggies and raisins.  Whisk all other ingredients together into dressing and pour over the veggies.  


What is your favorite way to make a winter salad?  Let me know!

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Comments (1)

Those salads sound great! I’ve been meeting the midwinter fresh-crunch-cravings with some canned coleslaw in a sweet & tangy vinegar-based brine. Drain from the jar and mix with some mayo upon serving and it tastes like summer! Will have to put it up in quarts next year - the half pint jars it’s in now are kind of silly - once I make it I want to eat it for days! :)