The Winter Salad – nutritious, comforting, delicious

The prospect of a salad for dinner is not always an exciting one in the middle of winter when you’re craving comfort food. But although salads are more a staple of the summer table, I don’t think they need disappear from the table during winter.

The trick, I’ve found, to enjoying salads in the colder months is to ensure there is at least one, perhaps two, hot elements. There is something about applying heat to a dish that instantly elevates it and gives it that comfort factor.

Last year I posted a recipe for homemade pesto. What I neglected to mention at the time was that it freezes well, to be used when fresh basil is not at its best. One of my favourite ways to use pesto is in a salad that is often on the menu in my house. I actually mentioned it in my post last year but didn’t give the recipe.

To be honest, I’m not sure it’s much of a recipe, more an assembly of fabulous ingredients. But I made it for dinner the other night and wanted to share it with you as a great salad option during the winter time. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be a fantastic salad at any time of the year. But the roast potatoes and grilled halloumi provide the hot elements that make it so satisfying.

I should mention at this point that there is no need to make your own pesto, although if you’d like to click here for the recipe. As I said, make a large batch when basil is at its best and pop portions in the freezer. Otherwise, find a good-quality store bought brand and this salad is on the table before you know it.

 

Spinach & Halloumi Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 350g new potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 100g fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Half a red onion, finely sliced
  • A dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 100-150g halloumi cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Give the potatoes a quick wash and then halve them (the slightly larger ones you might want to cut into threes). Place them in a lined oven tray, cut side down. Give the potatoes a good seasoning with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil. Get in with your hands and make sure that all the potatoes are slicked with the oil.

Put the tray in the oven and roast the potatoes for 40-45 minutes until golden.

Wash and pat dry the spinach leaves and place them in a large bowl. Add the red onion slices, the cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Put aside.

When the potatoes are nearly done, cut the halloumi into 1cm slices and put straight into a hot frying pan that has been preheated. Fry each side until golden and burnished. This will only take a few minutes.

While the halloumi is cooking, spoon the pesto into a small jug and add a little water to loosen it so it is more the consistency of a thick dressing.

When the potatoes are ready, transfer them straight from the oven dish to the bowl with the spinach and tomatoes. Add the pesto dressing, reserving a little to drizzle at the end and give everything a good toss until all the ingredients are slicked with the dressing.

Plate up the salad and then place 3-4 slices of the golden halloumi on top. Drizzle with a little more pesto dressing.

This salad has the added benefit of looking stunning on the plate. The colours are so vibrant they’re sure to brighten up any evening – during summer or winter.

Enjoy!

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9 Comments

  1. See, now this is what I call a comforting Salad. I love the idea of the little potatoes to make it more “comfort” and substantial. It looks truely delicious and so healthy. Also I agree on the Salad in winter part, adding a little warmth to salad makes it winter approved 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annika says:

    Wonderful salad Tracey! Halloumi has always been a summer food for as as we always grilled it on the bbq. Only this year, did I starting cooking it on the stove top and it’s proved to be a hit here so I will surely continue as the weather gets colder. You don’t use any oil? I’ll have to try that.

    Liked by 1 person

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