Thursday, October 9, 2014

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Salad

Ok, one of my motives for trying and posting this recipe is to prove that I’m making something besides recipes with apples! Mostly, though, it’s a celebration of root vegetables and squash as is appropriate this time of year. And my favorite thing to do with these autumn vegetables is roast them. They get tender and caramelized and sweet and oh, so delicious.

Another favorite thing I like to do when root vegetables and winter squash are around is to peruse Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman. That’s where I found this new application for my favorite vegetables. It’s basic roasted vegetables tossed with a robust vinaigrette with molasses and mustard and served while still warm over cool salad greens.

I’ve been happily roasting vegetables for a long time, but I was pretty excited about drenching them in this flavorful dressing. Putting that whole thing on salad greens turns it into a light one-dish meal. I used a mixture of green leaf lettuce and Swiss chard, but you could use winter greens like chicories or tender cabbages like Napa or Savoy.

When it comes to the roasted vegetables, you can use whatever you have or can get. I used a parsnip, a carrot, a rutabaga and half of a red kuri squash. You can use whatever winter squash you like, and add other vegetables like celeriac, turnips, sunchokes, or even beets if you can stand them (I can’t! but if you do buy them with their greens still attached, you could add those greens to your salad.) The smaller you cut the vegetables, of course, the less time they take to cook.

This is quite a versatile recipe, or really set of recipes. Just make roasted vegetables, and you could be happy. Toss those vegetables with this dressing and serve as a side dish. Use the dressing alone on a green salad or grain salad. You could also add cheeses, nuts and seeds or - and you know you want it - bacon to this salad. Whatever! It’s all good!

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Salad with Molasses Mustard Vinaigrette

Use whatever fall and winter vegetables you like here. I like winter squash, rutabaga, carrots and parsnips. Also, sturdier salad greens ranging from leaf lettuces to endive and radicchio to tender cabbages will all work well.

for the dressing:
¼ cup molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
a few grinds of black pepper

for the salad:
About 6 cups peeled autumn vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, winter squash, etc., cut into about 1-inch pieces
1 small onion coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
About 6 cups salad greens or sliced tender cabbage

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.

2. In a shallow roasting pan (or on a large sheet pan) spread out all of the vegetables and the onion into a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.

3. Roast the vegetables at 450 F for about 45 minutes or just until tender. Remove from the oven and transfer the cooked vegetables to a large bowl.

4. Whisk the dressing if the ingredients have separated. Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Pour about ¼ cup of the dressing on the greens and toss to coat well. Pour ¼ cup dressing on the cooked vegetables and toss to coat.

5. Divide the dressed greens among 4 plates. Divide the vegetables over the greens. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Makes 4 main-dish salads.

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