Some of these vegetables cook faster than others, so in this combination, I put cauliflower, fennel, parsnips, squash, peppers and shallots in one large foil-lined pan (for easier clean up later). In the other pan I put asparagus and mushrooms. Sometimes, depending on the amount I am making, I will just add the faster cooking vegetables to the pan halfway through and give them a good stir, maybe add a little more olive oil, and put them back in the oven to finish cooking. This time I was making enough for a crowd of 16-18 people, so I opted to use 2 big pans so the vegetables have room to cook evenly.
Preheat the oven to 400° F on roast (I use convection roast) and toss the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper. I find that using my hands to toss them is the easiest way to get everything mixed well. The cook time really depends on you; I let all the vegetables get a nice light brown color, which takes about 20-25 minutes. If you are using 2 pans, place the second pan in the oven after 10-15 minutes, so that everything is cooked at the same time. If you are adding the other vegetables halfway through, add them in after 10-15 minutes and give them a good stir and continue cooking.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and let them come to room temperature.
While the vegetables are cooking, mix the dressing, which is an herb-lemon vinaigrette. Depending on how many people you are feeding, you may not use all the dressing and can save it for your next salad. Here are the dressing ingredients:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 2-3 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a bowl or large glass measuring cup and mix well with a hand blender or whisk until fully emulsified. If using a whisk, mix vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, dijon mustard, herbs and salt and pepper together, slowly whisk in the olive oil, and set aside. Some people prefer to use a stand blender to make dressings, which is always an option. Simply put all the ingredients except for the olive oil in first, turn the blender on low speed and slowly add in the olive oil until fully emulsified.
The salad ingredients are very simple:
- 1 large or 2-3 smaller heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 5-6 sprigs of parsley or par-cel and/or 2-3 cups baby kale (or any mixture you prefer), chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled and chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)
The type of lettuce you use is up to you. I think romaine holds up really well with the vegetables in this particular salad and parsley and kale adds a nice crunch. Par-cel is actually a wild celery that is grown more for its leaves than its stalk and looks very similar to flat leaf parsley. I bought it for the first time and loved the flavor and crunch that it added to the salad.
Place the salad greens in a large bowl, add the vegetables, the avocado and parmesan cheese, if using, toss well with the dressing and serve immediately. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this salad and any additions you may have made! Happy fall!