Colorful Roasted Vegetable Salad

Green, leafy salads are a summer staple, but they're not the most seasonal option when it comes to the holidays. This brightly colorful salad better fits the bill, with its array of sturdy root vegetables and garnishes. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the vegetables, making them a perfect foil for the nutty flavor of the grain

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • ¼ rutabaga
  • 1 large beet
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 cups cooked rice, quinoa or other grain
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, finely minced
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • TIPS:
  • Beet juice stains terribly, so wear an apron and a pair of disposable kitchen gloves while you handle the beet.
  • Other winter vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or squash, can be substituted for the ones listed in the recipe. These 4 all take roughly the same cooking time, while sweet potatoes and squash soften more quickly. If you're uncertain, place each vegetable in its own spot on the baking sheet. That way you can remove them individually once they're tender and leave the others to continue cooking.
  • You can serve this salad hot or warm rather than cold. Served this way, it's the cold-weather equivalent of your favorite summer pilaf.

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 400°F. Peel each of the root vegetables and dice them into ¼” cubes, keeping the beets separate (they’ll discolor the other vegetables). Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a mixing bowl and add the salt and spices.

  2. Toss the carrot, parsnip and rutabaga until they’re lightly coated with oil, then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss the beets separately, then place them on the sheet as well. The vegetables should form a single layer, so use two sheet pans if necessary.

  3. Roast the vegetables for 30-40 minutes, until they’re tender and the edges of the cubes are caramelized. Remove the pan from the oven and let the vegetables cool. You can prepare them up to 2 days ahead, if you wish, then continue from this point to finish the salad.

  4. Place the cooked grain in a mixing bowl and drizzle it with the lemon juice and remaining oil. Work the grain with your fingers until the oil and lemon are evenly dispersed and any lumps are broken up. Add the lemon zest, parsley, dried cranberries and roasted vegetables and toss until all the ingredients are well mixed. Taste the salad and add more salt or lemon, if needed, until the flavors are nicely balanced.

  5. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with the pumpkin seeds. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours to maintain food safety.