Top 3 the best winter salads recipes

Hot buckwheat noodle salad with peanut tamarind sauce

A sweet and tangy tamarind sauce transforms any dish, including this simple vegetable stir-fry salad. Try 100% buckwheat noodles for a nutritious, gluten-free alternative to rice and wheat noodles. Unrefined coconut oil is thermostable – it holds together well during cooking – and is an excellent source of good fat.

Serves 4

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced

  • 3 medium carrots, julienned

  • 1 medium broccoli, cut into very small florets

  • 1 large red pepper, halved and sliced

  • 1 small red cabbage (about 250g), finely shredded

  • 1 small green or white cabbage (about 250g), finely shredded

  • 1 bunch of radishes (about 80g), sliced

  • 4 portions (about 320g) buckwheat noodles

  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil (to add at the end – do not heat)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/ghee/butter

To garnish

  • 2 large handfuls (about 80g) of freshly chopped coriander or a mixture of coriander, basil and mint

  • 1 lime cut into quarters

For the tamarind sauce

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (no added sugar or salt) or 2 small handfuls of crushed peanuts

  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste

  • 4 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed

  • 250ml water

1 First make the tamarind sauce. Simmer all the sauce ingredients in a pan on a low heat for 8-10 minutes. (If making in advance, the sauce can be reheated with the lid on and the addition of a teaspoon of water).

2 Prepare all the vegetables for the noodle salad. Use a sharp knife to julienne or finely shred the vegetables (where appropriate) or use a mandolin.

3 Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions. Rinse and drain then transfer to a bowl. Toss through with the sesame/olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

4 While the noodles are cooking, heat the coconut oil/ghee/butter in a very large pan or wok on a medium heat, and fry the red onions for a few minutes until softened.

5 Add the carrots and broccoli and stir-fry for 3 minutes, keep them moving to prevent them sticking.

6 Add the red pepper and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds.

7 Turn off the heat and add the cabbage, which will wilt slightly in the residual heat.

8 In a large serving dish toss the noodles with all the vegetables. Pour over the sauce and toss again. Add a little more oil if you need to loosen up the sauce. Garnish with the chopped herbs, chopped radish and lime quarters.

Bitter leaves, parsley and warm black pudding

Winter is the time to eat leaves from pink and green chicory, radicchio and other pale endives that have been grown in the dark. They are a good seasonal choice as they are grown all over northern Europe, and they last for a long time stored in the fridge.

You can be quite flexible about the base ingredients. The potato is optional but makes the salad economical as it can be served as a main dish. The mustard dressing, however, is essential.

Serves 4

  • 4 medium potatoes, boiled in their skins

  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon

  • A 20cm length of black pudding, or two small Spanish, low-fat morcilla

  • 4 handfuls of leaves, from: chicory (pink and/or white), endive, radicchio (look for treviso type) or Italian puntarelle

  • 2-3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

For the dressing

  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard

  • ½ tsp sugar

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 6 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp water

1 Cook the unpeeled potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes.

2 Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until smooth and greenish-yellow.

3 Taste and adjust the salt or vinegar to your preference. Leave for about 15 minutes to infuse the garlic.

4 Cut the potato into cubes and put in a large bowl. Dry-fry the bacon rashers in a pan over a low heat until crisp, then remove and drain.

5 Split the black pudding open lengthways and remove the skin. Saute the whole piece (or cut in half to fit the pan) in the bacon fat over a low heat until quite crisp.

6 Remove from the heat and drain. Cut into chunks and tear the bacon into shards and put in a bowl with the potato.

7 Cut or tear the leaves into strips then add to the bowl with the parsley. Finally, pour over the dressing, having first removed the garlic clove. Mix well and serve immediately.

Quinoa with lemon tahini dressing

This vibrant, multicoloured salad is packed with plenty of slow-burning ingredients to keep you going. The dressing is sharp and punchy and can liven up any mixed salad.

Serves 4

  • 100g quinoa

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 100g chickpeas, cooked and drained

  • 100g haricot beans, cooked and drained

  • 2 tbsp pitted green olives, sliced

  • 1 tsp sumac

  • 1 red pepper, finely diced

  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

  • 3 spring onions, sliced

  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced

  • 1 carrot, shredded or coarsely grated

  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced

  • Salt and black pepper

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp tahini paste

  • A pinch of caster sugar

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • Juice of ½ lemon

1 Fill a large pan with water and season with salt, bring the water to a rapid boil and add the quinoa and turmeric. Stir the quinoa regularly and ensure the water boils rapidly throughout the cooking process. Cook the quinoa like pasta until al dente. Drain with a sieve, refresh under cold running water, drain again.

2 Measure the ingredients for the dressing into a jug or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

3 Mix the cooled and drained quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and add some of the dressing to taste. Serve the remainder on the side so that guests can add more if they wish. You can keep leftover dressing refrigerated for up to five days.