I know you’re with me when I say that there a lot of are bad salads out there. I can’t count how many times a salad has been my only option for a meal, and it consisted of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots (the kind that come in a bag, pre-shredded), and maybe, if I’m lucky, a little radicchio. Don’t get me started on the dressing.
Lately I’ve noticed a change – great salad options in grocery stores and restaurants. Tis the season, right? I hope it sticks.
Despite my little rant, I am a salad lover. I believe that salads can stand alone, and that’s my goal whenever I create new combinations. A strong salad needs more than the classic garden salad can offer. It needs variation – in texture, flavor, and temperature.
This Roasted Veg and Arugula Salad can definitely stand alone. It’s simple, but surprising. It’s a salad to make you question what “salad” means. It’s earthy. It’s nutty. It’s tart. It’s fresh. It’s crunchy. It’s creamy. It’s smokey. It’s sweet.
Oh, and it’s naturally gluten-free with no added oil in the dressing!
Roasted Veg and Arugula Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 2 cups assorted vegetables, cut in 1-inch pieces – the combination I used was sweet potato, carrot, broccoli and brussels sprouts
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 5-ounces of arugula (one bag from Whole Foods)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated (using a garlic press or zester)
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Toss the vegetables in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Depending on the vegetables you choose, you may want to roast them separately. For example, using the combination listed above, I roasted the sweet potato and carrot together, and the broccoli and brussels sprouts together, then mixed it all together at the end.
- Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet in one even layer. Place in the oven. Check the vegetables every 10 minutes, tossing around. Time will vary for different vegetables (broccoli/brussels will take about 20-25 minutes, sweet potato/carrot will take closer to 35). We are looking for some caramelization or light char on the outsides and an al dente texture.
- While the vegetable are roasting, toast the sesame seeds. Place them in a dry pan (no oil!) over low-medium heat. Keep a constant eye on them – they go from raw to burnt in seconds. Stir and toss them in the pan to keep them moving. When you can start to smell them and they are slowly turning brown, turn off the heat and transfer them to a bowl or container. Let cool.
- Combine the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Use a whisk or fork to mix together. Add water, if needed to thin out the dressing – this is really a matter of personal preference.
- Assemble: Make a bed of arugula, top with the warm roasted vegetables, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.