Autumn roast vegetable salad with date vinaigrette


I wish I'd taken a picture of this salad with the fried egg I had on top of it. It was beautiful. Sunshiny egg smiling on top of warm and brightly colored roasted vegetables, kind of an edible picture of an autumn day. I really was struck by its prettiness; though, as I write this I realize how clear it is I don't get out a whole lot these days. Sadly, all I've got to share when it comes to images of this clean and simple fall supper is a picture taken with my phone. That's because all my plans currently are tentative and/or spontaneous, and I didn't intend to post this.

In the beginning, my intention was to make this salmon and roast vegetable salad from Eating Well, only I was using assorted vegetables outside of the root mixture suggested. What I had was a large beet, a yam, a zucchini, a red pepper and an eggplant. Then I left out the salmon...because that's just how things go sometimes when diaper duty and milk production dominate the day. The salmon doesn't thaw, or is eaten in another way the day before because it's quick and easy to cook. Both scenarios took place sometime in our recent 8-week reeling blur  of wonder as new parents. I'm not sure which was most recent.

In any case, when it came time to roast my vegetables, Little Monkey graced me with a surprise nap and extra free time (!!!!), so I got to swap out the basic vinaigrette for this date balsamic one from Aida Mollenkamp....SO good! I love dates, but even if you don't, I suspect you'd like the hint of sweetness and added thickness they lend this dressing.

Sometimes going with something other than intended is delightful. For instance, a colorful, easy autumn supper that made me smile. Or another example, I when I spontaneously just now felt moved to include this gratuitous bit of fall cuteness, the reason behind my planning spontaneously, tentatively, or not at all...and, as it turns out, being...(Hope it makes for more smiles!):

Autumn roast vegetable salad with balsamic date vinaigrette 6 side salad or 3 dinner servings (serve topped with fried or poached egg)

For the salad:

  • Approximately 6 cups assorted fall vegetables, peeled, chopped, or cubed as needed. Beets, turnips, potatoes/sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, zucchini all go well. I used 1 large red beet, a large yam, a zucchini, a red pepper, and a small eggplant. I made this easy on myself by trying to chop/cube vegetables to sizes that would allow me to get away with roasting them all at once for the same amount of time, but you could start the hardier root vegetables earlier and add in.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • approximately 6-8 cups mixed greens

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (original uses 1/3)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (same as above)
  • 2 tablespoons water (original used 1/4 cup)
  • 6 large dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (original uses 8)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped (I left out)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
To prepare the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. Season to taste and set aside until ready to use.
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss vegetables in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to the large bowl and gently combine with the reserved dressing and greens.