Comfort foods are a quintessential winter staple. But if you’ve been making the same hearty meals repeatedly, it might be time to put a new spin on them. You can do this by transforming your favorite dishes into salads. Whether you’re in the mood for something hot, cold, heavy, or light, we’ve got recipes that will appeal to any cold-weather craving. Here are 6 ways to enjoy your favorite comfort foods in salad form.
1. Hot Lasagna Salad
Serve your family a unique supper by combining crisp greens and hot lasagna. For an easy weeknight dinner, make Meals’ Hot Lasagna Salad using pre-made, store-bought lasagna. If you’d like to make your own, we suggest preparing Southern Living’s Extra-Easy Lasagna.
- 1 package store-bought, family-size lasagna with meat and sauce
- 6 cups mixed salad greens
- ½ cup creamy Parmesan salad dressing
- ½ cup sliced ripe olives, drained
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 cup salad croutons
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Heat lasagna according to package directions. Toss salad greens and salad dressing in large bowl; place on large serving platter. Spoon hot lasagna onto center of salad greens; arrange olives and tomato on remaining greens. Sprinkle croutons and cheese over lasagna. Serve.
2. Jambalaya Salad
Spice up your dinner routine by preparing Better Homes and Gardens’ Jambalaya Salad, which must be covered and chilled for at least 4 hours prior to serving. You can easily add more greens to this dish by serving it on a bed of lettuce; it provides you with more nutrients and tastes great with the recipe’s light, zesty dressing.
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 4 cups water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound cooked andouille sausage or other cooked, smoked sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails or cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium green, red, and/or yellow sweet peppers, chopped
- ½ cup snipped parsley
Directions: In a screw-top jar, combine ⅓ cup olive oil, orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Cover and shake dressing well. Use immediately or chill. Shake again before using. Combine rice, water, and the ⅛ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; rinse rice well with cool water.
Drain and set aside. Bias-slice sausage into ½-inch pieces. In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain off fat. Remove sausage from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; cook onion in hot oil until tender, stirring occasionally. Combine rice, sausage, onion, cooked crawfish tails or shrimp, tomato, black-eyed peas, sweet pepper, and parsley in a very large bowl. Add the dressing; toss well. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
3. Pot Roast Salad
Pot roast leftovers are put to good use in Eat Recycle Repeat’s Pot Roast Salad. Add your pot roast to a bed of fresh greens, which includes avocado, cucumber, radishes, and seaweed, and you’ll have a healthy meal that will taste nothing like last night’s dinner. The pot roast’s juice provides ample dressing, but you can also add a splash of olive oil and lemon juice to this dish.
- Leftover pot roast, shredded
- Fresh lettuce, washed and cleaned
- Radishes, raw or roasted
- Quick pickled onions
- ½ to 1 whole avocado
- 1 English or Japanese cucumber, chopped
- Pink salt, to taste
- Fresh seaweed, optional
- Pickled ginger, optional
- Any other desired garnishes
Directions: Shred pot roast, and wash and trim vegetables. Place ingredients in a bowl and toss well. If desired, drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice on top of salad.
4. Macaroni and Cheese Garden Salad
Take a break from boxed mac and cheese, and prepare Cooks’ Macaroni and Cheese Garden Salad instead. Salad oil, onion, dry mustard, cherry tomatoes, and parsley breathe new life into this kid-friendly dinner dish, which yields 6 servings.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni or bow-tie pasta
- 1 tablespoon salad oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1½ cups smoked mozzarella, cheddar, and/or fontina cheese, cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add mustard; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove onion mixture to large serving container. Drain macaroni and rinse with cold water; drain again. Add to onion mixture with tomatoes, cheeses, and parsley. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour over macaroni mixture; toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate.
5. Chili Salad
You don’t need the slow cooker to prepare Food.com’s tasty take on chili. Heat a can of chili, assemble your salad, and you’ll have this dish on the dinner table in 10 minutes. The recipe for Chili Salad yield 6 servings.
- 1 head lettuce, cut in 6 pieces
- 3 cups corn chips
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 4 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup black olives
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 (15-ounce) can chili with beans
Directions: In a salad bowl, combine all but the chili. Heat chili in the microwave or stovetop until bubbly. Pour over salad, tossing lightly to coat. Serve immediately.
6. Pan-Seared Dumpling Salad
Turn chicken and dumplings into a Pan-Seared Dumpling Salad using Real Simple’s recipe. Edamame, watercress, and shallots add fresh flavors to this warm dish, while the dumplings give it a nice, crispy finish. It yields 4 servings.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 12 frozen dumplings, pot stickers, or Japanese gyoza
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 2 bunches watercress, thick stems removed
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the dumplings and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add 3 tablespoons water and cook, covered, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining canola oil in another skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the edamame, ginger, and 2 tablespoons water. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until the edamame are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the watercress and ½ teaspoon salt; toss until just wilted. Divide among bowls. Top with the dumplings. Whisk the sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl and drizzle over each salad.