Holiday Roasted Vegetable Salad

This roasted vegetable salad features beets, carrots and cauliflower tossed in a maple balsamic dressing with a toasty, nuttiness from pecans and a little sweetness from golden raisins. 

roasted_vegetable_salad

Happy Holidays, all! We’ve had an unseasonable winter thus far in Chicago. Last weekend it was 60 degrees, which I don’t think has ever happened in my lifetime.

Yes, I enjoy the warmer weather (this could be -40 degrees like the last couple years), but it’s a little disconcerting. It worries me about global warming, but more importantly, it makes it hard to get in the holiday spirit.

(I kid, I kid. Global warming is definitely > holiday spirit.)

But let’s focus on a problem I can immediately improve — holiday cheer! I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to make it feel like Christmas: decorating everything, Christmas-y smelling candles, Home Alone, Elf, Christmas tunes bumping…

What I really love about the holidays, though — and I think most people would agree — is getting to spend time with good friends and family and enjoying delicious food. So that’s what I’ve been trying to amp up.

holiday_table

Last weekend I hosted some of my college girlfriends for a potluck + secret Santa exchange, a tradition we’ve had since we graduated. As the host, I decided to make a few items for the potluck:

Roasted Vegetable Salad (lettuce-free)

Lemon Tahini Vegetables

Sweet Potato Frittata

I’ll be posting the recipes throughout this week. I promise, they’re all very easy and can be done in part ahead of time. Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Change out the standard lettuce-based salad for this one featuring roasted vegetables, toasted pecans and golden raisins. This would pair well with chicken or turkey, or would be fantastic over a bed of kale if you still want some greens in your salad.

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 4 large beets
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • roughly 10 carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil + 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 cup feta cheese (goat cheese would also be amazing)
  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1 cup golden raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash all the vegetables well and lay on towels/paper towels to dry. Cut the ends off of the beets, peel them, and chop into 1/2″ cubes. Cut cauliflower in quarters and then cut the stalk off (check out this video on How to Core and Cut a Cauliflower for more detail). Break the larger florets of cauliflower into smaller pieces. Cut the ends off of the carrots (no need to peel as long as you’ve washed them well) and slice into thin coins.

Add chopped vegetables to a large baking sheet (I used two) and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables start to get a little crispy.

Spread raw pecan pieces onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven with the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Make sure to keep a watch on the pecans as nuts tend to burn quickly when you’re toasting. Remove toasted nuts from the oven and let cool.

Once vegetables are ready, add to a bowl. Then, add remaining olive oil (1 1/2 Tbsp.), balsamic vinegar and maple syrup and toss to coat.

Sprinkle on feta, golden raisins, and toasted pecans in whatever fashion you fancy. I’m a big proponent of the “stripe look.”

**Tip — roast the vegetables and toast the pecans the day before then all you have to do on the day of your get-together is assemble it all.

 

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