The Winter Salad That Keeps on Giving: Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad with Herbed Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Bradley, adapted from Alive Magazine.

We’re nearing winter, when kitchen creations centre on root vegetables, grains, pulses, and other locally available goodies from Karma. But for now, we are still lucky to have access to some bright, colourful produce that brings memories of warmer days to our kitchens. For those of us whose work days can be long and time in the kitchen limited, it’s nice to have simple yet hearty dishes that can be prepared on days off and be savoured throughout the week.

I was inspired to make this salad during a recent visit to Karma, when the discounted produce shelf was brimming with violet eggplant, red peppers, and both yellow and green zucchini – what a luxury! I picked up a clove of garlic, a bunch of parsley, a lemon, and filled a jar of lentils, and rushed home, eager to get cooking.

This dish is bursting with flavour and different textures. It will fill your kitchen with the aroma of roasting vegetables and herbs and the satisfying earthiness of brown lentils. A rich, flavourful dressing holds it all together.

Best of all, it’s one of those meals that almost tastes even better as leftovers! After a long week, it’s so lovely to open one’s fridge to a hearty meal. Just reheat on your stovetop or in a casserole dish in your oven, top it off with more fresh herbs and serve alongside a steaming mug of tea or apple cider. It’s just the meal to fill your belly and hold in the warmth for these increasingly chilly evenings. I hope you enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 mL) dry brown or green lentils
2 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 red peppers, quartered
1 medium red onion, quartered
1 cup (250 mL) extra-firm tofu, crumbled (press first to get rid of excess liquid)
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced Kalamata olives (optional)
1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
Approx. 1 cup (250 mL) fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley)
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, for roasting veggies

 

Method:

Start by salting your eggplant. Sprinkle cut sides of eggplant with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.

While that’s happening, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Prepare two pans either by adding parchment paper or lightly oiling them.

Next, cook those lentils. Place lentils, a pinch of salt, and 4 cups (1 L) water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until lentils have softened. Drain.

Place all veggies in a large bowl. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the two trays in the oven and roast for ~20 minutes. Check frequently to ensure they don’t burn – it really depends on your oven.

Once the veggies have cooled, remove from pans and cut into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) pieces, place in a salad bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes. Toss with lentils, crumbled tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.

Time to make your dressing! In a small blender, add olive oil, vinegar, herbs, garlic, maple syrup, tahini, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add any additional torn herbs as a final touch.

Now dive into those flavours and the satisfaction of preparing a meal that can be enjoyed throughout the week.

Easy, Crowd-pleasing Autumn Apple Crisp

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kyla Winchester.

My dad was the one who cooked in our family, and I can only conclude he didn’t like making pies. For Thanksgiving, he made apple crisp, or occasionally ‘pumpkin pudding’—which as an adult I now realize is an easy way to get sweet, creamy pumpkin filling and vanilla ice cream without the fuss of making a crust. (Yes, pumpkin pudding was just pumpkin pie without the crust—sneaky, huh?)

Apple crisp is a great fall recipe, and an easy, less-fussy but still delicious dessert for Thanksgiving—and simply modified for various diets. It’s also easy to delegate to eager but less-experienced cooks who can help with peeling and coring apples. My dad’s recipe was of the ‘some of this, some of that’ variety: light on amounts and heavy on winging it. So if someone offers to make it while you and/or others are taking care of the rest of the meal, let them take it on—it’s pretty easy to have delicious results.

 

Portions: 6 to 8

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: 30 to 40 minutes active, and up to 1 hour passive cooking

 

Ingredients:

Note – For vegans, use non-dairy margarine. For gluten-free folks, use rice flour or another gluten-free flour mix. If cross contamination is an issue (such as with celiacs) be sure to get gluten-free oats.

6 large or 8 mediums apples

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour (You can use whatever flour you have on hand: white, whole wheat, pastry, whole wheat pastry, spelt, etc. or substitute with rice flour or other gluten-free flour.)

½ cup sugar

½ cup margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch nutmeg, if desired

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and core apples. Slice apple 1/8”- to 1/4”-inch thick. Put in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add oats, flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; stir to combine. Add margarine and use the back of a fork to ‘cut’ the margarine in, until the mixture comes together and has a ‘crumbly’ texture.

Pour out half the oat mixture onto the apples and stir to combine. Add this to an oven-safe dish around 10” square.

Pour the rest of the oat mixture on top of the apple-oat mixture and spread out evenly on top. (Don’t press it down; part of what makes it delicious is the uneven texture and the crispy bits.)

Cook 45 to 60 minutes, uncovered. Check the tenderness of the apples in the middle after 45 minutes by testing with a fork. Make sure the top is crispy before removing—if it’s not, turn on the top element in your oven, place the dish on the top rack and brown for a couple minutes. (But set a timer so you don’t forget!)

If there are any leftovers, cover the dish and refrigerate.

Note – you can modify this recipe to your preference, e.g. add dried cranberries to the apple mixture, or add chopped nuts to the oat mixture.

 

 

A hearty salad to celebrate the mid-summer bounty

Summer’s later-than-usual return brought a bounty of colourful produce overflowing from our beloved fruit stands, farmers’ markets, and of course Karma! From brilliant red peppers to sunshiney yellow summer squash to deep violet eggplants, vegetables beg to be sliced, tossed with olive oil and a simple shake of salt and pepper, and eaten fresh from the grill or roasting pan. A final sprinkle of whatever fresh herbs you have available adds an extra burst of flavour.

Many summers ago, I had the good fortune to work as a farmhand on a small family farm called Pilgrims’ Produce in the sunny Okanagan Valley. As a city person, that experience gave me a renewed appreciation for fresh produce, prepared and served simply — and most importantly, shared with friends old and new. I find that meals always taste best when served alongside an appreciation for where the food was grown and all the care that went into harvesting, processing, and distributing it so that it could make its way onto our plates. 

In this salad, hearty grains are combined with a rainbow of roasted vegetables and topped with a simple dressing of tahini, lemon, mustard, and fresh herbs. This salad is versatile: feel free to substitute whichever veggies that call to you, and use whichever grains you have on hand, from millet to brown rice to quinoa. I’ve just started a miniature herb garden on my porch and enjoy picking a sprig here and there to add a zest to salad dressings.

Bonus: this simple salad makes for great leftovers — perfect for those busy bees who don’t always have time to cook every night, but who enjoy the physical and mental benefits of having nourishing food for those long summer evenings.

Recipe adapted from Real Food Real Health

Serves 8 medium bowls

What you’ll need:

Salad base 

  • 4 c. mixed lettuce/arugula/baby spinach
  • 2 c. dried spelt kernels or other hearty grains
  • Salt and pepper, other dried spices and herbs (e.g. thyme, oregano)
  • 3 lbs. hearty mixed vegetables: summer squash, carrots, eggplants, portobello mushrooms, etc. (bell pepper works well too, but don’t roast them for as long as they will burn)
  • 1 tbsp. organic canola oil
  • 2–3 shallots, minced

Salad dressing

  • juice of ½ lemon juice + zest
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. tahini
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Salad toppings

  • ½ c. dried currants or cranberries
  • ½ c. slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ c. pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • ¼ c. hemp seeds 
  • Fresh herbs, loosely chopped
  • Additional nuts or seeds to add crunch and flavour

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 

2. In a medium saucepan, add spelt/other grains, pinch of salt, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until grains are tender but chewy. Drain in a colander and set aside for now. 

3. Roughly chop the greens to form the base for the salad and place in a large bowl.

4. Chop the vegetables into cubes of equal size, roughly ½-inch.

5. While the grains are cooking, place the chopped vegetables on 2–3 lightly greased sheet pans. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and whatever other dried spices/herbs you like. Toss to combine. Place the pans in the oven and roast for 50–55 minutes.

6. Carefully, remove pans from the oven, sprinkle with minced shallot, and use a spatula to turn the pieces over. Cook another 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

7. In a small blender or using a bowl and whisk, combine all salad dressing ingredients until smooth.

8. Now it’s time to assemble your salad! Add the cooked grains and roasted vegetables to your bowl of greens. Drizzle with dressing, keeping any extra to serve on the side. Lightly combine everything with a spatula.

9. Top with fresh herbs, currants, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and any other toppings that strike your fancy.

10. Enjoy the most flavourful summer salad, and soak in those rays!

Contributed by Sarah Bradley

Holiday (or anytime!) Harvest Salad

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula.

This hearty + flavourful salad combines caramelized roasted squash, crisp apples and crunchy, salty pecans – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for the family! Everyone will love this nutritious + delicious side dish paired with dinner.

Ingredients:

Salad:
4 c. mixed greens of choice (arugula + spinach are lovely)
1 small delicata squash, sliced into ½ inch rings
1 small acorn squash, chopped into cubes
2 large honeycrisp apples, chopped into cubes
½ c. pecans
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder


Dressing:
⅓ c. olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ c. fresh apple cider
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp salt
Fresh pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat all of your squash pieces in the olive oil, salt and garlic and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the squash pieces are lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.

Make your dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a jar. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Toast your pecans either in a dry pan on the stovetop over medium heat until browned and fragrant, or on a tray in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Season with a bit of sea salt and set aside.

To assemble the salad, place your greens in a large serving bowl. Add in your cooked squash and chopped apples. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with toasted pecans before serving.