For me, wintertime is punctuated by a near-constant comfort food craving that presents itself in late September and doesn't let up until April. Ramen, pasta, bread, and essentially anything containing carbohydrates are in constant rotation; you'd be hard-pressed to find anything green on my plate.
That is until I watched Netflix's new cooking mini-series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat starring chef and food writer Samin Nosrat. Curiously enough, I found myself craving the bean and roasted veggie salad that she prepares in the "Heat" episode. Since the recipe is not yet featured on the website, I took to Pinterest to find something similar and landed on this roasted veggie salad from Wallflower Kitchen.
Containing just deliciously roasted veggies, quinoa, lentils, spices, kale, and a homemade tahini dressing, the recipe wasn't so difficult that my novice cooking skills wouldn't be up for the challenge. I didn't follow the recipe exactly—instead, I roasted cinnamon-topped sweet potatoes and cauliflower mixed with onions, nixed the lentils and stuck with the quinoa, added corn to the mix, and topped the salad with walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and almonds for an added crunch.
My secret ingredient was Cobram Estate's California select olive oil from their first harvest of the year, which I drizzled over the roasted veggies and the kale, corn, and quinoa mixture. It's so delicious I could literally drink it by itself; I've never tasted an olive oil so good.
The resulting dish would have given Sweetfgreen a run for its money—the roasted shawarma-style cauliflower and cinnamon-flecked sweet potatoes were both filling and delicious, and I absolutely loved the homemade tahini dressing (which is just tahini, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and some garlic powder). I didn't think a salad could ever be considered comfort food, but this dish has changed my find. Find the recipe (with my moderations and suggestions) below!
Ingredients for the salad
Sweet potatoes, cubed
Large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked puy lentils (optional)
Kale, chopped with stalks removed
Radicchio, chopped (optional)
Ingredients for the tahini and garlic dressing
Nutritional yeast (I left this out)
Miso paste (optional)
Directions for the salad
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and add the olive oil to a large roasting tray. Add the sweet potato and toss in the oil. Roast for 10 minutes. Then add the cauliflower with the spices, salt, and pepper. Roast for a further 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the cooked quinoa and lentils to a large bowl and mix in the kale and radicchio leaves. Once the veg is cooked and cooled slightly, mix into the salad with the leaves, quinoa, and lentils.
Pour the dressing over the salad and use your hands to rub it into the leaves and mix it in well. Top with a mixture of seeds, such as sunflower, chia, and pumpkin seeds for added crunch and protein.
Serve and enjoy!
Directions for the dressing
Simply mix everything together until smooth. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed. If it's too thick, stir in some more hot water.