Historically, the onset of winter would also bring a shortage of the leafy greens we commonly associate with salad, necessitating a dietary switch to root vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, and parsnips during the colder months. Today, we live in a world where foods of all types – including greens – are shipped, flown, and trucked to us wherever we may live, whatever the time of year, but there is still something very comforting and appealing about this root vegetable salad, which is flavorful and savory and filling – my top requirements in a winter meal.
This recipe comes from the Notes from a Maine Kitchen cookbook by Kathy Gunst, which I particularly enjoy for the running commentary and stories Ms. Gunst skillfully weaves through the recipes. Notes from a Maine Kitchen is also organized by month, as it features “seasonally-inspired recipes,” and I’ve found I appreciate this structure as it not only reflects the proud history of Maine home cooking through an accurate picture of what is available by season, but also enhances the storytelling as a result – capturing the Maine spirit in action. To be candid, I would enjoy this cookbook more if it included a higher quantity of recipes to accompany the commentary, but what it lacks in quantity it certainly delivers in quality – each recipe I’ve tried has had excellent results.
I made the roasted root vegetable salad as written with parsnips, carrots, and onion, but I think the suggestion of beets, potatoes, or turnips would also be good. It is a ‘February’ recipe, naturally, and can be found on page 34. I already plan on making it again, likely with beets, parsnips, and carrots.
- 1/2 lb. carrots, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 lb. parsnips, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil (or coarsely chopped fresh parsley)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar (I went with white)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
On a large baking tray or rimmed cookie sheet, toss the parsnips, carrots, and onion with about two tablespoons of the oil. Add the salt and pepper, arrange the vegetables in a single layer and place in the oven on the middle shelf. Roast for 15 minutes.
Toss the vegetables and rearrange in a single layer – roast for 10 more minutes, or until the vegetables have begun to brown and are tender when tested with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Arrange the roasted veggies on a medium platter or oval plate. Scatter the basil on top and drizzle with vinegar and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the cheese along the edges of the plate and sprinkle some in the middle. Serve!
We both enjoyed this colorful, flavorful, healthy salad. To reduce calories, you could go to a low-fat feta cheese, but personally, I hate the texture of the low-fat version. This is a good side to accompany virtually any meat, and I ate the leftovers as a stand-alone meal for lunch the next day.
Happy home cooking!