A Good Winter Salad Recipe

A simple salad made with crunchy lettuces, a garlicky, melted lemon butter dressing, and shaved endives, delicata squash, avocados, and pepitas.

A Good Winter Salad

This is the salad I made on Thursday. My intent was to assemble a big, green salad. It would be the sea of green on the Thanksgiving table. There was no real plan aside from that. No real intent to feature it here. It should be said, I'm terrible about photographing or documenting recipes if I'm cooking or helping out in a social setting (like Thanksgiving). I like to chat with people, and hang out, and sit around doing not a lot, and it's hard to do any of that if I'm jotting notes, measuring ingredients, swapping lenses, moving dishes around, and standing on chairs. This salad, it started as a simple arrangement of beautiful little gem lettuces, shaved endives, and an assortment of ingredients - delicata squash, avocados, pepitas, garlic, butter - that were on my counter in San Francisco at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. Into a bag it all went, for the drive to my parents' house, a hour south, in Los Gatos. Flash forward a few hours, and I'm in the salad zone. As I was tossing the little gems, I kept getting more and more excited about the way the garlickly lemon butter drizzled across the top was perfect on their crunchy, little ruffled edges. There was the tender avocados, and roasted squash...Before I knew it, as everyone was filling their plates and sitting at the dinner table, I grabbed my camera, pushed Wayne out the back door into the remaining natural light, and popped off a few frames.

A Good Winter SaladA Good Winter Salad

These were the old oak trees (top) I'd see every morning when I looked out my bedroom window. The grass at their feet is green in the spring, but I love it when it goes pale gold like this later in the year.

A Good Winter SaladA Good Winter Salad

On the drive down we took a bit of a detour, and drove up, up, up into the foothills above Los Gatos. If you keep driving, and winding, and climbing you eventually have a view of the entire Silicon Valley. We would come up here at night when I was a teenager. You can see from San Francisco to Gilroy and watch the planes in a line on approach to SFO. The night of the Loma Prieta earthquake we drove up and I remember seeing the dramatic swaths of black, revealing the areas with no power. In the shot above, you can see north-west nearly to the ocean here, and as you look to the right (beyond the frame) the valley unfolds north to the city.

If you try the salad, use whatever looks best at your market. My original idea was to do little gems and raw, tender brussels sprout leaves. But the sprouts looked mange, so I moved on to endives. I imagine you could trade in baby romaine here, or shredded kale, or shredded endives and roasted mushrooms...The general idea was to treat the lettuce more as a vegetable than anything else. Salting generously, and drizzling with the garlicky melted butter. Hope you like. xo -h

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A Good Winter Salad

1 delicata squash, seeded and sliced into thin crescents

6-8 heads little gem lettuces, leaves separated
2 endives, shredded

2 medium cloves of garlic
1/8+ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
5 tablespoons melted butter
big squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 cups toasted pepitas
2 ripe avocados, slivered

Heat the oven to 375F, toss the squash crescents with a splash of olive oil, and roast until deeply golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Crush the garlic with the salt into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Work the melted butter into the garlic paste, and finish with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Taste and add more salt if needed.

When you're ready to serve the salad, arrange the little gems and endives in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the butter and give a good toss. Add the pepitas, avocados, and squash, and more dressing, and give another gentle toss. Taste, and add more salt, and more dressing if needed.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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A beautiful view of the valley... thanks for sharing it.


That salad looks so fresh and wonderful... I definitely needed it on my Thanksgiving table :)

Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent

looks very healthy and very tasty

Sevimin Askanasi

Lovely salad! Can't go wrong with garlic and butter! Love the touch of avocados - it just gives lot of creaminess without overdressing the salad!


This salad looks absolutely perfect!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Looks delicious! Heidi, are you planning to do a post on your Morocco travel recommendations? I would so love to hear your thoughts!

HS: Hi Jill - I keep meaning to, and then get sidetracked! Part of what is tricky is addresses and directions. I will try to pull something together, hopefully sooner rather than later - thanks for your patience!....


We used to live in SF and now live in Los Gatos. Small world! The weather has been especially amazing this past month. We keep wondering when the rain will arrive? We are definitely in need of some salad after a weekend of food.


It looks delicious and the pictures beautifully capture the winter light. A delight. Thank you.

Tabitha Coupe

I've never but butter in salad before. And now, I shall.

Lynn @ The Actor's Diet

I find myself in the same situation at party gatherings. The lack of concentration, or the inconvenience to others about dragging out the camera and I always regret it. I love your simple salad. I need to remember those pepitas next time I'm tossing one together.

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)

I serves a big salad with virtually every meal, so always looking for more inspiration. This one looks stunning. And the butter drizzle just so wonderfully decadent.


I would love to see old oak trees every morning out my bedroom window. I'm sure I would wake-up in a much better mood. If nothing else, I would be more relaxed for sure, for the simple reason of not having cars honking their horns ten stories below or a view of hundreds of people walking the streets. I guess I just need to move out-of-town! Oh, great salad btw :-)


Love the butter drizzle idea!! Can take in SO many different directions. But I am missing the old Persian soup recipe, I hope you still plan to highlight it :)

HS: Next up Leah!


Mmm.. love that this salad is dressed with a garlicky lemon butter! I think we had a parallel Thanksgiving... I also live in San Francisco but grew up in the hills of Saratoga... so I drove down there to my parents' house, which I love for all the sounds of crickets and cicadas and the smell of eucalyptus and pine trees! I think I saw a similar vista too, during a hike near their house on Friday morning. The perfect little retreat. (I think I had emailed you previously about whether QuitoQueeto was based off the Quito road in Los Gatos/Saratoga/Campbell, ha!)


After this weekend, it's definitely time for a salad. Making this one tomorrow.

stacey snacks

Oh, this is the perfect antidote to all the rich food we ate for Thanksgiving. xo

Lynn Russell

I still think you did a wonderful job at photographing the land scape, It is so very tranquil isn't it? Stunner of salad with great simple flavors


Gorgeous pics! And I've been loving squash in all forms and ways lately. The delicata looks great with the pepitas.

Averie @ Averie Cooks

I love a good salad anytime of year, winter is no exception! I also agree, I hate taking pictures when there are a bunch of hungry people waiting to eat. To me, that's not exactly what getting together for the holidays is about. I'm glad you shared it though!

Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

I'm positive butter is exactly what my salads have been missing! I can't wait to make this. I'm glad to see photos of your childhood area. So sweet :)


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