Sweet roasted vegetables with crisp fresh lettuce and red quinoa crisps, this is a hearty, vegetarian entrée salad.Perhaps it’s the way I’m wired — with my huge sweet tooth and all — but I think any vegetable that’s caramelized is amazingly delicious.
Depending on the vegetable, roasting it at a very high temperature and bringing all of its natural sugars to the surface can turn it into something almost as sweet as candy.
This is the process of caramelization and it happens with all the foods we cook — it’s the crust on bread, the golden crispiness on French fries, the part of the onions that get stuck to the bottom of the sauté pan when you’re making a stir fry, and the list goes on.
And in this salad we blend all of that natural sweetness with fresh, crisp lettuce and tomatoes, and a tangy citrus balsamic dressing.
Enjoy every bite!
- Olive oil for the baking sheet
- 1 (approximately 1½-pound) cauliflower, washed, dried, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1-pound carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (you don't have to peel them -- it's just my preference)
- 3 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup roughly chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 small to medium-sized tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces (about 1½ cups)
- zest from 1 large lime
- juice from 1 large lime
- zest from 2 oranges
- juice from 1 to 2 oranges
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- splash extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Quinoa Crisps (Here's how to make the Quinoa Crisps.)
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, adjust 2 racks near the center, with a several inches between them.
- Generously coat the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil. Add the cauliflower pieces to one side, and the carrots to the other. Mix them around a bit to be sure they are well coated with the oil -- but keeping them on their own sides. Season generously with salt and pepper and place in the preheated 500 degree F oven until they are very well caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes per side. (Flip them halfway through the cooking process.) Let them cool to room temperature on the baking sheet. They should cook at a similar rate, but the cauliflower might be done first -- just remove it from the baking sheet earlier.
- Add the Romaine, olives and tomatoes to a large salad bowl.
- Once the roasted cauliflower and carrots have cooled to room temperature, add them to the salad bowl and toss.
- Now add the citrus zest, citrus juices, balsamic vinegar and oil. (You can always add more juice, vinegar and/or oil if you'd like to.) Then season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Sprinkle the Quinoa Crisps on top and serve. (Here's how to make the Quinoa Crisps.)