Roasted Root Veggie Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Despite the fact that the thermometer reached 80 today, it is fall. The sun no longer has the angry intensity it had all summer and as soon as it drops to midway in the sky, there’s a chill in the air, there’s a crispness about. I love it. Fall is my favorite time for food. Root vegetables and braises, warm spices and soups; honestly, what’s not to love? As usual I wanted to make a big pot of something for my lunch this week and this roasted root veggie salad seemed to be just the thing.

I love the sweet-savoriness of root vegetables, particularly after they’ve been caramelized in the oven. It was a tad too hot in my apartment today for roasting, but I decided to ignore that and go ahead with it anyways. This salad had all the sweet-savory goodness that it should. The softness of the roasted roots is offset by the crunchy apples and pecans, while the inherent sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots is balanced with a good tang from the cider vinegar and lemon juice. Then there’s this je ne sais quoi from the fennel that just finishes it all off.

This salad is the type of thing I feel good about eating; I can just imagine the vitamins from the bright orange vegetables doing good things. The brighter your food, the better it is for you and this one is definitely blinding. Unfortunately for me, I don’t think this salad is going to be quite substantial enough to serve as my lunch this week (those roots really shrink up when roasted!) but I am looking forward to it none-the-less; it will be an amazing mid-afternoon snack or side dish to chicken or fish.

Roasted root vegetable salad with cider vinaigrette

Adapted from E. Michael Reidt, B&O American Brasserie, via a TastingTable email. Makes 4 side-dish sized servings or 2 pretty big main servings (but I still ate it with shrimp).

I made a few changes to this recipe and I think they worked well. My unreliable grocery stores were out of celeriac, so I subbed parsnips, and I used turnip in place of rutabaga since I couldn’t identify the rutabaga due to spanish-only labeling (sigh, queens); I think you could use any combination of root veggies in here.  I used spicy brown mustard instead of yellow because, well, I hate yellow mustard unless it’s on a hotdog. I also tossed in some chopped pecans, though I think walnuts or pinenuts would be awesome too. Finally, I used a macintosh apple since, for some crazy reason, that was all the store had; see if you can avoid the Mac (they belong in computer form only) and use something more crisp. God I hate Macintoshes. I think some raw red onion would be nice in there too…or you could really go for it and add some bacon.

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled, cored and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
4-5 small carrots, peeled and diced
1 T. canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T. apple cider vinegar
3 T. apple cider
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 t. spicy brown mustard
1 t. mustard powder
1/4 cup olive oil
½ t. fennel seed, ground in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle
½ t. mustard seed, ground in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle
1 small apple, cored and diced

3 T. chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 325° F
  • Toss diced vegetables with canola oil, salt and pepper until coated. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender
  • For vinaigrette, whisk together next 9 ingedients
  • When root veggies are roasted, toss them with the vinaigrette, diced apple and pecans
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