Not only is this Roasted Veggie Salad with French Vinaigrette healthy and easy, but it’s full of wholesome ingredients. The veggies add a bold robust flavor and the vinaigrette is slightly sweet with no refined sugar.
ME BEFORE THE RECIPE…
I’m a being of routine and structure. I like predictability. It gives me great comfort and joy knowing what to expect in any given moment. Yes, I do like adventure, but I like PLANNED adventure. You feel me??? Who’s in the same arena as me?
For this very reason, I exercise exactly the same every single day. I run. I run the same route, the same distance, the same pace. Every. Single. Day. Wait, I take that back. I give myself a break on Sundays. It’s the day of rest, right??? Somebody should tell my brain that, though, because even on the days that I’m not running, I’m thinking I should be running. Sheesh.
So you can imagine how proud of myself I was when I SPONTANEOUSLY decided to switch up my running route yesterday. I didn’t even plan the change! I literally decided as I was jogging out the door. Kudos to me yo!
Except my supposed to be positive “outside of the box” change quickly derailed into somewhat of a creeper experience. Since I was running later than usual, the thought crossed my mind, “Hey, I bet if I ran past the kids’ school, Emry would probably be at P.E. and I could wave to her. She’d LOVE that!”
So I did.
I ran to the school and made a brief pit-stop by the fields. I didn’t see any kids out. I was kind of bummed. Then I thought maybe they would be at recess, so I circled around the school by the kindergarten playgrounds. No kids. Maybe I was a little too early, so I circled around by the fields again. No kids. Okay, I’ll give the playgrounds one more shot. Still, no kids. Oh well.
As I turned around in defeat to continue my run, I noticed a group of little munchkins running in packs around the fields I previously scouted. P.E. must have started! I sprinted over and got right up next to the fence, trying to eye my little nugget. I didn’t see her, but recognized a few other kids in her class. Once I realized the end of the pack was nearing and Emry must have already finished, I called over one of her little friends that I knew from volunteering in her class.
Poor little kid gave me a strange look. I guess I look a little different with no make up, a ponytail and wearing sport clothes. I obviously wasn’t as familiar to her as she was to me. So I called out, “Hey, I’m Emry’s mom!” She sheepishly walked over and I asked her to tell Emry “hi” from me and to give her a big hug. She obliged and then went on her way. I smiled, thinking how equally excited and confused Emry would be at her surprise message. With a giddy grin on my face, I sprinted off in all my glory.
Then it hit me.
WHAT THE CRAP DID I JUST DO???!
You know how sometimes you’re just living in your own “normal” reality and completely oblivious to how the rest of the world might view you??? Yeah, that was me.
Ummm, let’s just recap the last 10 minutes:
- I circled the school three times, obviously zoning in on any play areas with kids.
- I stood with my face pried against the iron fence watching kindergartners run laps.
- I pressured a poor little child to come to the fence so I could “talk to her”.
- I relayed a what seemed innocent, but now looking back, pretty creepy message to said child that included passing along hugs.
So, yeah…I’m surprised I wasn’t kindly escorted off the premises by some cop. Maybe I made it out of there just in the nick of time. He or she was probably on their way and, needless to say, I think I’ll just stick to my normal running route from now on. I’m much less likely to be mistaken for a stalker that way.
HERE COMES THE RECIPE…
You see, this story is a perfect example as to why I limit my spontaneity to within the walls of my own kitchen. There is much less at risk (like avoiding stalker jail) when you direct your impulsivity toward food. In fact, being uninhibited in the kitchen usually yields quite amazing results, which is why I continue to cook with few hard and fast rules.
Such is the case with this Roasted Veggie Salad with French Vinaigrette. This salad and I met by happenstance; no thought out plan or meticulously crafted formula. Just happenstance.
We were invited to some friends’ for dinner and I volunteered to bring a veggie. It was the day of and I had no idea what to bring. I opened my fridge and stared: one beet, three carrots, a sweet potato and a handful of mushrooms. What the heck??? Where are the potatoes or brussel sprouts or green beans or SOMETHING??? Oh yeah, I hadn’t gone shopping for a few days and that was all we had left.
But then I eyed the romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley and handful of watercress and knew a salad was in order.
I usually stick to cold fresh veggies for my salads, but all I had were some grape tomatoes and a watermelon radish. You can’t make an entire salad out of that. So I deviated from my norm and thought, “Why not roast some veggies and whip up a homemade vinaigrette?!”
Done and DONE!
Do you know what roasted beets taste like??? HEAVEN! And they look even prettier than they taste with their deep purple, glossy hue. I’m a total sucker for roasted sweet potatoes, so I had no aversion to adding those. And the roasted rainbow carrots added another element of beautiful color to the prepared salad.
Of course you have to balance out the tender roasted veggies with some crunch, so that’s where the watermelon radish (uh, can you say GORGEOUS?!) and toasted pecans came into play. Both solid choices.
I’m always a fan of some kind of creaminess to my salads whether that be in the form of a dressing, with a sliced avocado, or with a crumbled cheese of sorts. So with this salad, I opted for a sprinkle…ahem, handful…of Boursin brand garlic and fine herb Gournay cheese. You could also use crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola, feta, goat cheese, or even some shaved Parmesan.
And as for the salad dressing? EASY PEASY!!! Seriously, this dressing takes no effort at all besides chopping up some fresh parsley leaves. Now I guess you could use dried parsley, but it wouldn’t taste quite as vibrant.
This dressing is kind of a hybrid between a honey mustard and Italian vinaigrette. It has the sweetness that a honey mustard dressing would have, yet the tanginess and consistency that an Italian dressing has. Basically, it’s yummy. That’s all I gotta say.
Plus this dressing can last in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, depending on how fresh your parsley was at time of use. That’s a winner! We drizzled this dressing over sweet potato power quinoa bowls, potato and fried egg hash, and multiple salads and the flavor never got old. Go ahead and see for yourself. I dare you.
See, kindergarteners aren’t the only ones I can pressure into doing things.
Well I hope you enjoy this super healthy, vibrantly colorful and extremely tasty salad. Have I sold you on it yet??? Well if not, you’re a lost cause and might as well just resort to eating a bowl of Lucky Charms for dinner. Although I’m not quite sure that counts as “eating the rainbow”.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY…
- Goat Cheese Berry Spinach Salad
- Healthier Broccoli Raisin Salad
- Roasted Beets
- Simply Roasted Cauliflower and Rainbow Carrots
- Roasted Broccoli and Butternut Squash
- For the roasted veggies:
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 beet, peeled and diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2-3 rainbow carrots, peeled and diced (1½ cups)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- ¾-1 teaspoon salt
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- For the salad:
- 12 oz. mixed greens of choice (I used red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, and watercress)
- ½ watermelon radish, peeled and thinly sliced
- roasted veggies
- 10-12 grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese, or Boursin brand garlic and fine herb Gournay cheese
- 3 tablespoons toasted pecans or walnuts
- For the dressing:
- 3 oz. (about ⅓ cup) olive oil
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves or ¾ teaspoon dried (fresh recommended)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- dash of salt
- dash of pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Arrange diced beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and slice mushrooms on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt, teaspoon pepper, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground ginger. Toss to coat evenly. If veggies still feel dry, add additional tablespoon of olive oil. Bake on top rack of oven at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until tender and crisping on the outside. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While veggies are roasting, make dressing. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. While still whisking, slowly pour in olive oil and continue whisking until combined. Place in fridge until ready to use.*
- To assemble salad, place lettuce mix on bottom. Top with thinly sliced watermelon radish, then top with cooled roasted veggies, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled cheese, and toasted pecans. Shake or mix dressing if separated and drizzle on salad right before serving.
- Store leftover dressing in an airtight container or bottle in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Shake or mix again before serving.*