How about a roasted vegetable salad that eats like a MEAL?? Roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplants and zucchinis are tossed with field greens in a sweet and savoury maple dressing. You won’t believe how easy it is to prepare and so delicious, you’ll want to have this for lunch and dinner!
Now with spring in full swing and summer coming up, it’s the season of the SALAD! Out with the winter comfort carbs and in with the veggie shred (I know…you’re either excited or groaning right now) I’ll be honest here though, I’m not a huge fan of salad…ever. To me, salad was always the appetizer, the side plate served with your sandwich or the extra dish you bring to your friend’s potluck. It was never the main star…until I made this salad! The roasted vegetables give this salad a “meatiness” and the rich flavours play off the freshness of the salad greens. I do really look forward to eating this salad….every time! So this is a salad for non traditional salad lovers and salad lovers alike…trust me on this!
How to Roast Vegetables
Roasting vegetables is super easy and not to mention heathy! It’s a great way to eat a variety of vegetables in one meal plus the seasonings and browning creates amazing flavour. Roasting is done in 3 easy steps:
Chop into Same Size Pieces
I usually chop vegetables into 1 inch pieces for roasting. With vegetables like beans and asparagus, I cut them into 2 inch sticks. If you chop your vegetables less than an inch thick, I would reduce your roasting time since they will cook faster.
Toss with Oil and Seasonings
Coat vegetables with olive oil or another oil of your choice. I also season at minimum with salt and pepper. Root vegetables tend to need more salt on them due to their starchy texture so be sure to salt those a bit more. You can pretty much use any of your favorite seasonings – curry, italian, cumin, paprika, lemon etc. For this recipe I used garlic powder, basil and oregano for a more Mediterranean feel but keeping it (my) kid friendly.
Roast in a Single Layer
Place your vegetables on a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up). Make sure they are laid out in a single layer with some space. Toss and flip your vegetables halfway through their cooking time to make sure they are cooked and browned evenly. I usually pierce my vegetables with a fork a few minutes before the end of cooking time to see if I need to add a few more minutes or less. The roasting times are approximates and it’s best to check them in between.
Roasted Vegetables in this Recipe
The vegetables I chose in this recipe are Mediterranean inspired and my favourite for roasting. I chose milder tasting ones with a starchier texture so this salad feeds like a meal! Helps to not be hangry later 😉
Chosen for their sweetness and seasoned with some garlic powder for extra flavour. Sweet potatoes take about 30-35 minutes to roast.
I like the milder flavour of Chinese eggplants and the longer shape means more of that tender skin on them! I season them with dried oregano and basil. Chinese eggplants take about 20-25 minutes to roast.
My daughters love zucchini and because they are neutral in flavour they soak up any seasonings you put on them. I love them with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Basil and oregano also works well too! Zucchinis also take 20-25 minutes to roast and so I usually roast them together with the eggplants at the same time.
There are only a few things as tasty as a roasted red pepper. I will roast a pepper any chance I can get. Red peppers are so sweet and tasty when roasted! I only add salt and pepper to mine just because I like them just like that. They also roast super quickly! 10-12 minutes tops. I usually add them in the pan with the sweet potatoes when it’s time to flip them (since I roasted the sweet potatoes first)
- Prepare vegetables from longest to shortest roast time – I usually chop and season my vegetables in tandem with roasting them to save time. I prepare the sweet potatoes first and get them in oven. Then zucchini and eggplant into the oven. I usually flip all three vegetables at the same time for efficiency and add the red pepper since that cooks the fastest.
- Roast vegetables in sections – I don’t usually toss and roast different kinds of vegetables mixed together. I roast several kinds of vegetables at the same time but I separate them into their own sections in the pans. So in case one vegetable is taking longer to cook than I planned I can remove the others easily.
- Roast vegetables 400 F – 450 F – Vegetables roast at high temperatures. Anything below 400 F wouldn’t produce sufficient browning.
- Use a flat pan for roasting – Flatter pans produce more browning on the vegetables. If you use a shallow pan with a deeper lip, your vegetables will brown less.
- Save time and make the salad while roasting – Once the vegetables are in the oven roasting, chop up the tomatoes, onions and mix the salad dressing to work in parallel. From personal experience, I’m able to prepare the rest of the salad while the roasting happens!
- Cool roasted vegetables before adding to salad greens – Once the vegetables are out of the oven. I let them sit covered for 10 minutes to let the juices release. Don’t put the hot roasted vegetables immediately out of the oven on the salad greens. This might cause too much wilting. Add the roasted vegetables while they’re still warm to the salad and it wilts the greens just enough to blend with the accompanying juices. Delicious!
- Add ons/Alternatives – If you’re not vegan, feel free to add crumbled feta on top! If you don’t have maple syrup, you can also use honey instead for the salad dressing. It just won’t be vegan anymore
Leave me a comment if you tried this recipe!
Easy Roasted Vegetable Salad
For Roasting Vegetables
- 2 sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes with skin on
- 2 zucchinis cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 chinese eggplants cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided with a little extra
- 1 tsp black pepper divided with a little extra
- 5-6 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 10 oz spring mix
- 3 sprigs green onions chopped
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) cut in half
- 1 medium avacado
For Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice about the juice of one whole lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan option)
Prepare Roasted Vegetables
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- Toss sweet potatoes in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp garlic powder
- Lay sweet potatoes in one layer on one baking sheet and place in oven for 30-35 minutes
- Toss zucchinis with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp garlic powder
- Toss chinese eggplants with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano and 1 tsp basil
- Lay eggplant and zucchini in a single layer on the second baking sheet (each taking one half of the sheet). Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Toss red pepper in 1/2 tbsp olive oil, pinch of salt and black pepper
- About 15 minutes into roasting, flip the sweet potatoes, eggplant and zucchini to roast evenly
- After flipping, add red peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes. Move the sweet potatoes around to create some room. Roast for 12 mins.
- After 30 mins of roasting has passed, check on the vegetables to see if they are done. All vegetables should be pierced easily with a fork. If not done, keep roasting and check every 5 minutes or so
- Once vegetables are done roasting, combine all of them in one sheet and cover it with the second sheet. This will steam the vegetables and release their juices
Prepare Salad and Dressing
- Combine spring mix, green onions, halved tomatoes in a salad serving bowl. Set aside
- Combine lemon juice and olive oil and whisk with a fork for 30 seconds to combine
- Add salt, pepper and maple syrup. Whisk to combine. Do a quick taste test of the dressing, add a bit more salt and/or maple syrup if desired
Toss Salad and Roasted Vegetables
- Add 3/4 of the salad dressing to the salad greens and toss to coat
- Add slightly cooled roasted vegetables and any juices on top of the salad. Spoon over remaining dressing or leave on the side for serving
- Cut avacado open, slice and add it to the salad
- Serve immediately
- TIME SAVING TIP – Once the vegetables are in the oven roasting, chop up the tomatoes, onions and mix the salad dressing to work in parallel. From personal experience, I’m able to prepare the rest of the salad while the roasting happens
- ROASTING VEGETABLES – Try to make sure the vegetables are laid out in one layer for even cooking. If you don’t have room to add the red peppers to the sweet potato baking sheet, I usually put it in my toaster oven
- COOL ROASTED VEGETABLES – Once the vegetables are out of the oven. Cool them for 10 minutes to let the juices release. Don’t put the hot roasted vegetables immediately out of the oven on the salad greens. This might cause too much wilting. Letting it cool for 10 minutes is ample time
- MAKE AHEAD – This salad tastes great even the next day! If saving for a next day meal, portion out the salad greens and the roasted vegetables without adding any dressing. Portion out the dressing in a separate container. Refrigerate. When ready to eat, toss dressing and salad together with a fresh avacado. Avocados should only be cut open right before eating to avoid browning