Spring salad – that’s what we’ll call this. Spring is pretty good at fooling me. With the sun shining during the day I get excited about the thought of having dinner on the porch. But by the time we’re ready to eat, the sun is gone and there’s a chill in the air. So once that chill sets in, I’m not longer in the mood for a cool, crisp salad. I need something to warm me up! So how about a warm salad?
Also, I don’t consider salad a meal unless it includes at least 6 other parts besides the lettuce. So I loaded this one with lots of warm, crispy vegetables. Usually I’ll include some meat and cheese too but I pretty much just ate pizza this weekend so I had to repent on Monday night by eating all these vegetables. But it’s still good! And good for you :)
Here’s a look at our lettuce. We start our lettuce from seed in the greenhouse and move the young plants to the field as early as the weather permits. As you know, this spring has been slow to warm so the plants didn’t get in the ground as early as we’d like. So our first planting went in around mid-April and we’ve kept it covered to speed up the growth. I crawled under to give you a look!
We grow several varieties of baby leaf lettuces that we use to mix together for our spring mix. We expect to be harvesting our first planting in two weeks or less. Until then we have some beautiful lettuce from California. Fingers crossed that the weather improves so we can eat from our own backyard! We also have lettuce plants available at the market if you’re interested in growing your own!
Back to the recipe. I start by getting the vegetables in the oven. The carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and chickpeas can be cooked together so long as you don’t slice your carrots and zucchini too thin. And be sure to spread them into one layer so they will cook evenly and get a little crispy. The asparagus will cook much more quickly so you will add that in the last 10-15 minutes.
Have you ever roasted chickpeas? If not, you’ll be hooked after this! So good. The only problem is that they don’t keep well after they’ve been cooked. They don’t stay crispy.
This is currently my favorite dressing. I put it on all my salads; it goes well with all types meat. And it only takes 5 minutes to make. You can make it ahead of time too and it will keep for a couple days. I like it slightly warm though so I usually make it fresh each time.
I think the fact that it’s cooked is what makes it so good. 1) I don’t like raw garlic. 2) Cooking it brings all the flavors together. If you don’t like raisins, just strain them out before adding it to your salad. I don’t recommend leaving them out altogether because they give such a nice sweetness to the dressing. But if you really hate raisins, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of honey for them. I LOVE the raisins and think they make every bite of this salad better.
Instead of just roasting the mushrooms with the other vegetables I cook them separately in a skillet. I don’t like how mushrooms dry out in the oven so I take the time for the extra step. And it gives you something to do while your vegetables cook…
Once your vegetables are done, you’re ready to assemble your salad. (Almost forgot – we’re cutting our our asparagus now!)
The final touch is to include a few of these pickled beets on each salad. These are easily our #1 seller of the canned goods we carry. People LOVE them and they are the perfect size for salads.
Do not fear the warm salad. Refreshing but still comforting on these cool spring evenings. And SO good for you!
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Raisin Dressing
- Serves 3-4
- Prep Time 10 minutes
- Cook Time 40 minutes
8 ounces spring mix lettuce
2 medium carrots, 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, 1/4-inch slices
Half of a small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup chickpeas
10 ounces mushrooms, thick slices
1/2 pound asparagus, 1-inch pieces
Allgyer's Home Canning Pickled Beets
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Balsamic Raisin Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
DirectionsPreheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and chickpeas. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, breadcrumbs and parmesan. Spread the vegetable mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure the vegetables are in a single layer and do not overlap. Place in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes. In a small bowl toss the asparagus with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside. The asparagus will only need to cook in the 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the timer for the other vegetables and add the asparagus for the last 10-15 minutes.
Prepare the dressing. In a small skillet, heat the 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, about 30 seconds, add the golden raisins. Cook for additional 30-45 seconds until the raisins begin to expand. Reduce heat to low and add balsamic vinegar, greens onions and a dash each of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 1-2 minutes until you begin to smell the vinegar and the green onions slightly soften. Remove from skillet so the dressing is allowed to cool.
In the same small skillet, add butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and toss to coat. Add worcestershire sauce. Cook for 10 minutes on low or until mushrooms are cooked through. Remove from heat.
To assemble salads, top desired amount of spring mix with roasted vegetables, mushrooms and a few pickled beets. Toss with dressing.