Let’s talk about salads in the fall & winter months. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your roasted veggie recipes while it’s cold outside, I recommend trying something a little different.
Usually, we think of salad as fresh, crisp, cold, crunchy veggies drizzled in a creamy dressing and tossed together.
Salad is amazing.
But in the fall and winter, a lot of our favorite salad veggies are extra-expensive. And their taste…disappointing.
What if we combined everything we love about salads into something that uses seasonal veggies and those warm, comforting flavors we crave in the colder months.
While plain cooked vegetables can be delicious, I challenge you to try using them in your next salad. Here’s how:
Seasonal Fall Salad Recipe
Let’s break down the elements of a great salad, replacing the summery parts with something perfect for fall and winter.
When steaming vegetables, you can get away with frozen packages of broccoli and peas. However, for a roasted vegetable salad, you will want fresh.
Warm, not Cold:
We’re going to cook them in possibly the most flavorful way to cook vegetables – roasted. They don’t have to be hot and fresh from the oven when you serve this salad. In fact, this salad is great simply served at room temperature. This is a great recipe for leftover roasted vegetables.
Crisp & Crunchy:
Roasting the vegetables creates crispy, crunchy edges that our mouths and taste buds love in a salad.
Toss them with a tangy dressing and maybe some crumbled cheese, and you have everything we love about salad re-made for the winter.
These are optional but amazing. Throw in a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, to add bright, fresh flavors and textures.
In order to make this salad more budget-friendly, we use the herbs growing in the pots outside our backdoor. If you don’t have fresh herbs or they are too expensive, leave them out! The salad will still be delicious.
Roasted Veggie and Fresh Herb Salad
In the summertime, vegetables are bursting with flavor (assuming you get them fresh from a farmers market or garden). It’s easy to toss them in a light dressing and love every bite.
However, in the winter months, the majority of us are getting them from the grocery store, or maybe we’re awesome and storing the harvest in a root cellar (or whatever it is serious gardeners do with their extra vegetables?). The flavors are not nearly as vibrant, and eating vegetables in something besides soup (largely flavored by strong broth), is less than exciting.
Roasting vegetables is the answer to that problem. Roasting veggies in a hot oven tossed with a little oil and salt intensifies their natural flavors. And cooking them until the edges are just a touch brown and crispy adds dimension to the flavor. Think about fried chicken, latkes, and funnel cakes – it’s the same idea of a crispy outside and soft inside. Roasted vegetables give us that.
RELATED: Your guide to roasting veggies!
Using Fresh Herbs in Salads
Fresh herbs are optional, but they make the salad even more amazing. Add a handful of whatever herbs you have growing in pots outside (or in a sunny window in the wintertime). Or maybe use up the other half of that bunch we bought last week that’s just waiting in the fridge.
I like mint (trust me – it’s good in this recipe!), parsley, and basil best. You can also use dill, thyme, and oregano. Don’t try substituting the fresh herbs with dry. If you don’t have any fresh herbs lying around, just skip it! No harm done, and the salad will still taste good.
Seasonal Roasted Vegetable Recipe
Roasted vegetables are so simple and delicious. Generally speaking, you can follow these same instructions to roast all kinds of veggies.
- Simply preheat the oven to 450 F
- Toss veggies with olive oil and salt
- Make sure they don’t crowd the pan (it’s worth the extra dish to avoid mushy veggies)
- Roast for 10-20 minutes (some larger veggies, like eggplant, do well with a flip half-way through cooking)
- That’s it!
More Cold-Weather Veggie Recipes from Steph:
- Pumpkin Spice Overnight Steel Cut Oats (Instant Pot!)
- Turmeric Lentil Soup
- Hamburger Vegetable Soup
- Perfect Spring Mix Salad for Fall, Winter, & Spring
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Place the onion in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbs. vinegar. This step is called maceration and it makes the onion taste amazing in the salad. Do not skip this step if you can help it. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the broccoli and cauliflower, then place them on 1-2 large baking sheets. Broccoli cooks faster than cauliflower, so you may want to separate them into 2 pans. Toss the florets with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt. Then spread them in the pans, making sure they are not crowded (this ensures they get crispy and brown on the edges).
- Roast the veggies in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are just barely soft in the middle but nicely browned on the outside. Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool slightly.
- Toss the broccoli and cauliflower in a medium-size bowl with the quinoa, macerated onion, fresh herbs, cheese, and ½ cup of the vinaigrette. Taste, then add another 1/2 cup vinaigrette and more salt, to taste.
Substitute the quinoa for other kinds of cooked grain (farro, couscous, etc.), navy beans, or homemade croutons (Maybe made from this easy mix and pour sourdough bread).
Substitute the broccoli and cauliflower for asparagus.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 555
- Sugar: 7g
- Sodium: 587mg
- Fat: 25g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 67g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 16g
- Cholesterol: 13mg
Keywords: side dish, fresh herbs,
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Recipe for Seasonal Roasted Vegetables
Eating vegetables in the winter is just as important as any other time of the year. But in the fall and winter, a lot of our favorite salad veggies are expensive, mealy, and bland.
Roasted vegetable salad makes our favorite parts of the salad into something we can make in the colder months. It’s delicious and more budget-friendly than using the bland out-of-season veggies at the grocery store.
This season, I challenge you to try making a roasted vegetable salad!