Salads flourishing with seasonal fruits and vegetables hold a special place in January as they fit seamlessly into healthy New Year’s resolutions. A variety of color on every plate offers different essential vitamins and minerals that nourish your body in many ways. These light meals are easy to prepare and bring to work, the beach, or dinner parties and family gatherings.
These salad recipes offer hearty seasonal vegetables that are simple to prepare in advance, which allows you to enjoy them for multiple meals while saving time. Try roasting beets, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and even spiced pears and apples. Baking temperature varies, but is typically around 425 degrees F for 30 minutes or until tender. Serve them hot for one meal, then store in the fridge for later use for up to four days.
Roasted Beet + Cinnamon Pear Salad (serves 4-6)
-1 bag organic butter lettuce and radicchio
-2 large roasted beets, seasoned with lemon pepper and Himalayan salt
-2 raw heirloom purple carrots, sliced on an angle ¼-inch thick
-1 baked Bosc pear, seasoned with cinnamon, sliced into wedges
-½ cup sunflower seed sprouts (available at Third Street Farmers Market)
-½ cup creamy goat cheese, seasoned with dried oregano and basil
-¼ cup sprouted raw pumpkin seeds
-Lemon pepper to taste
Over a bed of lettuce, add sprouts. Arrange roasted vegetables along the corner of the bowl. Add goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Garnish with spices.
Roasted Vegetable Herb Salad (serves 1)
-2 cups fresh organic baby spinach and radicchio
-4 roasted button mushrooms
-¼ roasted zucchini, sliced
-½ roasted carrot, sliced
-3 roasted Brussels sprouts, halved
-¼ cup pomegranate seeds
-12 sunflower seed sprouts
-Fresh parsley and dill to taste
-Lemon pepper and Himalayan salt to taste
-Fresh lemon juice and EVOO, mixed, for dressing
Over a bed of lettuce, add sprouts. Arrange roasted vegetables along the corner of the bowl. Add pomegranate seeds. Garnish with herbs and spices.
Variety in color offers benefits from different antioxidants, which decrease oxidation in the body and protect cells from free radical damage. Purple and red hues in beets are from the antioxidant betalain, while similar colored carrots are rich in anthocyanin. Similarly, orange carrots are rich in beta-carotene. All colors of carrots offer eye and heart health, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.
Carrots, like other vegetables, are low in calories and rich in fiber, making them an excellent staple to a healthy diet. They are rich in vitamins K and C, as well as the minerals potassium and manganese.
Finally, pomegranate seeds are rich in polyphenols that act as antioxidants with anti- inflammation and anti-aging benefits. They are a good source of folate and potassium and, like carrots, a very good source of vitamins K and C.
Guest contributor Kate Moran, RD, LDN, lives in Naples and is the sports dietitian for the Minnesota Twins, based out of the Twins Academy in Fort Myers, and owner of The Educated Plate LLC. Follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter and find her blog here.