Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #195: Warm Winter Salad

by Kristen O’Brien, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota – The Emily Program]

When you think of salad, what is the first thing you think of? Lettuce? Tomatoes? Dressing? Salads can seem a bit boring, but they can be easily made exciting if you are willing to experiment. The great thing about salads is that you can mix them up and create the flavor you are looking for… sweet, salty, spicy, you name it.

You may not think of salad as a winter food, but this one might change your mind! This savory winter salad is sure to warm you up on the coldest of days.

In addition to being delicious, this salad includes nutrient-rich foods that will help prevent you from getting sick this cold and flu season. Garlic and onions can stimulate the immune system to help fight viruses and colds. Apples and acorn squash contain Vitamin C, an antioxidant and immune booster. Plus, getting a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits daily will ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need for a healthy body.

Warm Winter Salad

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

(Serves: 8)

Ingredients for chicken:

  • 24 oz. (1.5 pounds) skinless boneless chicken breast
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • Olive oil

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium acorn squash halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
  • 1 golden delicious apple, quartered, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 heads of red leaf lettuce or mixed greens of choice
  • Parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Mix together the seasonings for the chicken in a small bowl. Brush the chicken with olive oil and coat with seasonings. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken on sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip chicken and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cut into the chicken at center to check to see if it’s cooked through – chicken should be white in color and 165°F. Add lemon, thyme, chives and 2 tbsp. olive oil and wrap in foil once finished cooking to keep warm.
  3. While chicken is cooking, add 2 tbsp. olive oil to large skillet and heat to medium temperature. Add the shallot and cook about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant about 2 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the butter with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 5 tbsp. of the spiced butter and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash on two baking sheets and roast for 10 minutes (can be in the oven with the chicken). In the same bowl, toss the apple with the remaining 1 tablespoon of spiced butter. Turn the squash wedges and add the apples to the baking sheets. Roast for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the squash and apples are tender and golden.
  6. Arrange the leafy greens on a large platter or bowl. Top with shallots, garlic, squash and apple. Chop up chicken into 1-inch cubes and add to salad. Garnish with parsley and it’s ready to serve!

Nutritional Information:

Per serving: Calories: 324, Total Fat: 13 gm (Saturated Fat: 4 gm), Carbohydrates: 31 gm, Sodium: 105 gm, Fiber: 5gm, Protein: 24 gm.

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