7 Wintertime Hearty Salads for Dinner

February 24, 2022

We're in the dead of winter, meaning most of the country is experiencing cold weather. While this time is usually associated with warm soups and stews, I love to incorporate hearty salads for dinner during the winter months.

They're not only filling but a great way to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Plus, it's nice to break up those heavier meals with something a bit more refreshing yet still filling!

Need some ideas? Check out my top seven hearty salads for dinner. Trust me—you won’t be disappointed!


7 Wintertime Hearty Salads for Dinner

Here are some incredibly filling and tasty salads to get you through those winter months.


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

1. Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

This Vegan Kale Caesar Salad is rich in both nutrients and flavor. By using kale as the base of the salad, it not only helps to slow age-related cognitive decline but also contains vitamins A, C, and K. [123]

Moreover, cruciferous vegetables like kale also contain minerals such as folate and phytonutrients, which help lower inflammation and, in turn, help prevent harmful diseases.


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

2. Asian Chopped Cabbage Salad

A spin on Asian cabbage slaw, this recipe is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, radishes, and oranges and features a sweet and spicy dressing made with maple syrup and sriracha.

But that’s not all that makes this one of my top hearty salads for dinner. It features great health benefits, too!

According to a 2014 study on over 1,000 women, those who ate more cruciferous vegetables had up to 24 percent less inflammation in their bodies than those who ate less of these healthy vegetables, according to their inflammatory markers. [4]


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

3. Warm and Roasted Winter Salad Bowl

When it comes to hearty salad for dinner during the winter months, I love to turn to this salad bowl. It’s served warm and features filling ingredients such as potatoes, quinoa, and kale.

It’s topped with pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), which is an excellent source of zinc. As you may recall, zinc is a trace mineral that is known to help cut the duration of a cold almost in half!

According to a 2011 study, using a minimum of 75 mg each day of zinc lozenges reduced cold duration by up to 42 percent! Interestingly, the study found that using zinc lozenges in daily dosages of less than 75 mg had no effect. [5]


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

4. Pear Salad with Balsamic and Walnuts

Another one of my go-to hearty salads for dinner is this Pear Salad with Balsamic and Walnuts. I love the crunch of the nuts in this dish along with the natural sweetness of the pears.

Plus, pears are a great source of B vitamins, which are known to help support your body’s stress response and support every single metabolic process in your body—from your mood to your ability to absorb the nutrients from your food. [67]

Just consider leaving off the cheese, since dairy often fuels inflammation.


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

5. Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

I can’t have a list of top hearty salads for dinner without mentioning this incredible dish featuring butternut squash and apples! It’s an absolute favorite for both fall and winter.

Not only does it contain these flavorful ingredients but also features arugula (one of my favorite leafy greens) and maple-cinnamon pecans.

Personally, I like to make this recipe gluten-free by using quinoa in place of wheat berries to really make it gut-friendly!


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

6. Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad

This filling salad features roasted vegetables that provide some amazing flavor, which is why it’s one of my favorite hearty salads for dinner. I love the simplicity of this dish and how it all comes together with the use of fresh basil, coriander, and parsley.

In terms of health benefits, this winter salad contains butternut squash and arugula in addition to parsnips and carrots. And, as you may recall, carrots have been shown to fight aging as well as support healthy weight management, digestion, and heart health.

I recommend leaving off the feta to avoid any inflammatory dairy and consider replacing it with nuts or seeds of your choosing.


Hearty salads for dinner - Dr. Pingel

7. Vegan Sweet Potato Winter Salad with Toasted Pecans

Finally, the last of my top hearty salads for dinner features one of my absolute favorite vegetables: sweet potatoes! And that’s why this Vegan Sweet Potato Winter Salad with Toasted Pecans was chosen to round out this list.

If you choose to make the homemade croutons, be sure to use gluten-free bread. Or you can include toasted nuts as an alternative.

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