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posted: 12/5/2017 6:00 AM

Why should summer have all the leafy fun? Try a winter salad

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  • A green salad with roasted apple and pumpkin vinaigrette is a star for winter dinners.

    A green salad with roasted apple and pumpkin vinaigrette is a star for winter dinners.
    Melissa d'Arabian for Associated Press

  • A green salad with roasted apple and pumpkin vinaigrette is a star for winter dinners.

    A green salad with roasted apple and pumpkin vinaigrette is a star for winter dinners.
    Melissa d'Arabian for Associated Press

 
By Melissa d’Arabian
Associated Press

Summer may officially be the season of green salads, but wintertime versions have advantages that make them worth exploring.

The cooler weather seasonable greens are hearty and darker green, which makes them nutrient-rich. And, these thicker-leaved greens such as kale or spinach, can hold up to the addition of warm ingredients, opening up the possibilities for topping your salad with roasted goodies in a way that delicate butter lettuce never could.

Have some hearty root veggies in the fridge? Toss them (and some whole garlic cloves -- yum!) in some olive oil and roast them up, and add warm to raw kale leaves with lemon juice, Parmesan and black pepper and you've got a winter salad rivaling anything you'd make in July.

Today's recipe takes inspiration from this season's holiday cooking pantry ingredients that I always seem to have on hand. Apples, leftover from apple pie, are the salad's real star, while the pumpkin vinaigrette -- also of pie fame -- plays an important supporting role.

I cut the apples into small cubes and quickly roast them in a little salt and rosemary at high heat, and the little cubes turn into sweet, herbaceous nuggets of flavor -- like raisins, but better -- and make other ingredients almost unnecessary. I add leftover turkey for protein, almonds for crunch and tomatoes for a tiny bit of acid.

You could even add blue cheese or feta if you happened to have some floating around the house, leftover from a cheese party platter. Feel free to swap out ingredients to match your pantry: As long as you are topping winter greens with something warm, whether roasted Brussels sprouts or pan-seared salmon, you'll be on your way to a tasty winter green salad.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy."

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