This roasted veggie salad is the kind of salad that salad-haters will love. Is it even really a salad if it doesn’t have lettuce? I’m not sure, but we’re going to go with it, because the only other descriptor I have is “food in a bowl”. In fact, when people ask me what I make for dinner, “food in a bowl” is my most common answer. The whole separate protein, veggie, and grain thing just doesn’t fit my lifestyle (read: seems too complicated). Throwing it all in a bowl and calling it dinner always seems like a much better way to go. Then you don’t have to waste time taking individual bites of everything, right?
Efficiency aside, this dish has a lot going for it. Roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes and a surprise guest of chopped Honeycrisp apples make for the perfect marriage of (fall!) flavors. When you toss the whole thing together, the savory and sweet veggies find balance with a tangy lemon dressing. And guess what? Even though the recipe takes a little bit of time (hi, we’re roasting vegetables here), it’s still easy to prepare because you have to do next to nothing to get those veggies to be delicious.
I’m going to get a little over-excited about roasting vegetables for a moment, so stay with me. In my humble opinion, there is truly no better way to bring out the flavor of vegetables. Seriously, a regular old piece of cauliflower, put in the oven, becomes a dazzling, soft (not mushy), crispy-edged, almost caramelized piece of cauliflower. Sweet potatoes go from crunchy, starchy, and inedible to sweet delicious pillows of melt-in-your-mouth potato. You get the picture. Magic things happen in the oven with the help of a little olive oil and a lot of heat.
Still with me? Great. So, we’ve made it past the veggies. What else does this salad have going for it? Hearty quinoa for one. If you like another grain better, feel free to substitute. There are also plenty of fresh herbs: I used some fresh rosemary, and dried thyme. The recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers (Pinch of Yum), who I always look to for inspiration when I’m low on cooking ideas. She calls this her Autumn Glow salad, and that’s just about the perfect description for it. If cooler temperatures are headed your way, or even if you just want to pretend they are, this is the ideal way to ring in fall.
The last thing you need to know is that the lemon dressing to pour over top of this is out of this world good. Don’t forget it, because the bright tangy dressing is exactly the contrast you need to make this just about the best salad that has graced your dinner table or maybe even your desk.
Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
Time: 1 hour
Recipe from: Autumn Glow Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 head cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
Herbs: I liked a combination of rosemary and thyme
1 large apple
A handful of parsley, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Rinse the quinoa and cook according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 425°. Chop the cauliflower into small florets, and roughly chop the onion and sweet potatoes (peel them first) into bite sized pieces. Place the veggies on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with spices and salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, combine all dressing ingredients in bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Chop the apple.
Combine quinoa, veggies, and apple in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. If you’re planning for leftovers, keep the dressing separate until ready to eat.