I love “warm” salads during the winter months, especially those that take advantage of all the wonderful root vegetables in abundance this time of year. This particular salad (one of my husband’s favorites!) boasts great flavor, texture and nutrition and is “meaty” enough to satisfy carnivores (there’s that husband, again) even though it doesn’t actually contain any meat. When you’re looking for something simple but satisfying, or when you just want to give your digestion an easy day, serve this dish.
Packed full of nutrients, this salad works for either dinner or lunch. It contains sweet potatoes (most stores actually sell yams), an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C; walnuts for iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6 as well as protein and healthy fats; and red bell pepper–rich in vitamin A and C an an excellent source of anti-oxidant flavonoids such as α- and b-carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. Together, these antioxidants help protect us against the effects of free radicals generated during stress and disease.
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 lb sweet-potato or yam, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 lb small red potatoes, cut in half
1 medium fennel bulb, end trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tbsp raw honey
6 oz loosely packed mixed salad greens
Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, toss onion, sweet and red potatoes, fennel and bell pepper with 3 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Spread vegetables over a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender and golden, about 40 minutes, turning over halfway through the baking time. About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, sprinkle the walnuts on the baking sheet and toast until golden.
In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, honey and the remaining 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.
Toss the greens in a large bowl with half of the dressing. Divide among 4 plates. Let the vegetables cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to the large bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Spoon over the greens and serve warm.
Serves 2 as a dinner or 4 as a starter.