Everyday Food (January/February 2009)
Roasted root vegetables are the thing we're cooking most often this winter. And why not? They're available in abundance at our farmer's market, they're cheap at the supermarket and they make for a delicious but simple side dish for almost any meal.
Typically, we toss together some combination of cubed sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, or carrots, drizzle them with olive oil and then roast them at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until tender.
The roasting caramelizes the vegetables, bringing out their wonderful flavors that compliment almost any protein.
But here's a salad that takes our go-to winter side dish and turns it into the star of the show, as the central component of a delicious, warm, winter salad.
In our house, salads are typically starters rather than entrees. But in keeping with one of our culinary resolutions to eat at least one vegetarian meal per week, we prepared this salad as our dinner on a weekday night.
The process is wonderfully easy. Roast cubed sweet potatoes with slices of red onion. Toss together with green beans and walnuts and roast until the beans are tender. Place the roasted vegetables on a bed of red-leaf lettuce and drizzle with the dressing, a blend of yogurt, vinegar and garlic.
It's quite possible this salad was tailor-made for us. We loved the sweet roasted vegetables, balanced by the cool crispness of the lettuce. And the dressing is a perfect accompaniment: cool, light and slightly tangy.
Admittedly, we're biased against salad as entrees, but recognize the benefits of cutting down our overall meat consumption. We're always afraid that salads won't be filling, or that we'll somehow find them unsatisfying.
This salad may very well have changed our minds on that. We think it's the closest to comfort food you can get with a salad. Give it a try and let us know if you agree.
Caramelized sweet potatoes and red onion pair well with green beans and walnuts. Heads of lettuce cost less than bagged pre-prepped varieties -- they have better flavor, too.
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
* 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
* 1 medium red onion, quartered
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cut green beans, thawed
* 1/3 cup walnuts
* 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
* 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
* 1 garlic clove, crushed through a garlic press
* 1 head (10 ounces) red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss together sweet potatoes, onion, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Add green beans and walnuts to sheet; toss. Roast until green beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, and garlic; season dressing with salt and pepper. Top lettuce with roasted vegetable mixture; drizzle with dressing.