Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad (gluten-free, dairy-free recipe)
I used to be terrible at feeding myself lunch. I’d whip out lunch plates for my family like a short order cook at rush hour, but when it came to my own plate I rarely sat down to eat a real meal. I’d peck at some nuts and seeds or nibble on cheese and crackers like some kind of bird, while throwing in a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and responding to three emails. Then I couldn’t figure out why I was snappy and shaky and eating a fistful of chocolate chips at three in the afternoon.
For the past month or so, I have been making a focused effort to eat a filling, nutritious lunch every single day. It’s been a total game changer. I have energy in the afternoon! Energy to do stuff! I’m not snacking my way from breakfast to dinner. There’s something to be said for eating three square meals a day.
This winter salad has become one of my favorite lunch options.
Inspiration came from reading this month’s Bon Appetit on Grain Bowls and making the Warm + Roasted Winter Salad Bowl from Oh She Glows for dinner a month ago. My husband and I loved it. Roasted vegetables, creamy avocado, and cooked quinoa were all piled on top of a bed of fresh greens and drizzled with homemade vinaigrette. It was the perfect winter salad: hearty without being heavy.
I made a few small changes and loved it even more. This is one of those flexible recipes that is open to a dozen variations. I have been keeping the different ingredients prepped and ready in the refrigerator and creating these filling, flavorful salads one delicious lunch at a time.
Here are the different components, followed by a bunch of options. Mix & match to your heart’s content! (I included a basic recipe for my favorite combination below.)
- Greens: Spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage. I buy a big bag of Costco’s power greens (baby kale, chard, spinach), which is perfect for this salad.
- Grains or legumes: Quinoa, Brown Rice, farro, wheat berries, bulgur, spelt, lentils, chickpeas
- Roasted vegetables: (How to Roast Vegetables) Gold potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, green beans, carrots, butternut squash (use the leftovers to make butternut squash carbonara), garlic
- Nuts or Seeds: Sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Fruit: Dried cranberries, raisins, diced apple or pear
- Sliced avocado
- Dressing: Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
That old seeds and crackers routine is for the birds. I am a new person. I eat a real lunch now! You should, too, starting with this salad.
Winter Salad with Fresh Greens & Roasted Vegetables
2 c. uncooked quinoa + 3 c. water + 1/2 t. salt
1 lb. small gold potatoes, halved or quartered
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed & halved
2 T. olive oil + salt
6 c. greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, chard)
4 T. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
4 T. dried cranberries
1 avocado, sliced
1 recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- To cook quinoa, rinse the quinoa and combine it with the water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the water is gone. Fluff with a fork and cool (I like it at room temperature).
- To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 425-degrees. Tumble the potatoes and brussel sprouts onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to make sure the vegetables are evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.
- To assemble the salads, place a handful of greens on each plate. Top with a scoop of cooked quinoa and roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Top with sliced avocado. Drizzle with salad dressing.
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