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Make Your Winter Salad Lettuce-Free With 4 Easy Swaps

Make Your Winter Salad Lettuce-Free With 4 Easy Swaps

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Don't settle for second best produce, use these in-season picks instead.

Certain kinds of fresh produce always seem a little sadder during the winter (no one looks great after long-distance travel), but that doesn’t mean your salads have to suffer. Fresh lettuce may be hard to get, but there are a plethora of other healthy options in the grocery store to help you get your veggie fix.

Here are four great bases you can combine in multiple ways to build a satisfying winter salad:

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Roasted Root Vegetables

Root vegetables thrive during the winter. And you’ll end up with a colorful, flavorful, and nutritious meal just by roasting some veggies and tossing them into the mix. Some of our seasonal favorites include beets, cauliflower, sweet potato, turnips, and carrots.

If you don't want to wait for the vegetables to roast each time you crave a salad, make a big batch ahead—they’re also delicious cold.

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Lindsey Lower

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Turns out you don’t have to cook Brussels sprouts to make them taste great. They take the spotlight when shaved and used as the base for a hearty winter salad.

Thinly shredding them on a mandoline makes the sprouts easy to eat raw, or if you're looking to save time (or don't own a mandoline) you can pick up a pre-shredded pack in the greens section of most grocery stores.

Other Hearty Greens

Just because the lettuce looks limp doesn't mean you have to avoid every green leaf. Actually, a huge amount of hearty greens taste their best during the cooler months. Some of our favorite options are kale, bok choy, spinach, and cabbage.

Keep in mind that some of these varieties may have stronger tastes, but that just adds to your salad's big, bold flavor—and gives you an excuse to add in other bold flavors.

Citrus Fruits

While replacing lettuce with citrus may seem unusual, these in-season fruits add bright color and deep flavor to winter salads—and can be more than just accents.

Some of our favorite choices include blood oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, and oranges. These fruits should be sliced or sectioned before mixing in, and don't forget to add an extra boost of citrus flavor by zesting the rind into your dressing.