With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people are starting to look forward to their favorite Thanksgiving dishes ranging from turkey to mashed potatoes to sweet potatoes to pecan pie. Typically, however, you do not find people getting overly excited about the vegetables served at Thanksgiving dinner unless they are a green beens covered in creamy soup and fried onion strings. If you are hosting dinner or have been asked to bring a side dish, surprise your friends and family with something unexpected with this Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing and Toasted Pepitas which is a delicious and beautiful side dish for the holidays.
Browsing the produce market will show that there are many beautiful and flavorful vegetables available to us in the fall season. This dish highlights the delightful colors, textures and flavors of carrots, roasted beets and rainbow chard. What a perfect palate of vegetables in both taste, texture and color to make a beautiful side dish.
The roasted garlic dressing in this recipe adds a light flavor that enhances the sweet and savory aspects of the underlying vegetables. The recipe calls for a lot of garlic - feel free to ration the amount of garlic head used depending on your tolerance.
Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds and represent the crunchy portion of the seed once the chewier white shell is removed. Pepitas can be challenging to find. If you cannot find them in your grocery aisle that typically contains nuts and seeds, look to areas of the store, such as the produce area, where you can pick out and bag your own nuts, trail mixes, and etc. These areas often have a greater variety of nuts and seeds compared to pre-packaged, branded items. I have also found pepitas at both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. If they are in season at Trader Joe's, try the Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds that have an autumnal sweet and spicy flavor that alleviate the need to roast the seeds per the instructions below. If you cannot locate pepitas, sunflower seeds can serve as a substitute.
Even better, alleviate work on Thanksgiving Day by preparing the carrots and beets in this dish one to two days ahead. The vegetables will maintain their wonderful flavor, however, store each vegetable separately to maintain color prior to serving (the color of beat juice is a beautiful purple but you do not want it to overpower the vibrant orange carrots). The greens are best prepared, served and consumed the day of.
ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD WITH GARLIC DRESSING & TOASTED PEPITAS
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 medium head garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 bunch carrots, scrubbed
- 1 bunch beets, scrubbed with greens trimmed
- 1 bunch rainbow chard or beet greens
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup raw, hulled pepitas
- sugar to taste (if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Cut the root end off of the garlic. Set out a square of foil, drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Set head of garlic in the oil and wrap the foil around it. Set foil packet in a small, oven-proof dish, and slide into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then set aside to cool. Once you remove the garlic, turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
- Meanwhile, peel and blanche the carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Add the beets to the same water used for the carrots. Boil the beets for 8-10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, and run under cold water. At this point, the skins should readily peel off. Use your fingers or a peeler to remove tougher skins.
- Halve the carrots and cut beets into quarters or sixths, depending on size. Arrange each on a separate baking sheet (to preserve color), and lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Slide into the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through.
- Arrange the rainbow chard or beet greens on another rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with oil, rub over leaves and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt. Slide into the oven and bake for 4-6 minutes, or just until the leaves have softened.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. First, squeeze the roasted (and cooled) garlic out of the paper skin. Set in a small bowl, and mash with a fork. Mix in lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified.
- Finally, toast the pepitas by heating a small skillet over medium heat, and drizzle olive oil and the pepitas. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the pepitas start to pop, 1-2- minutes. Remove from heat, toss with a little sea salt (or sugar if you want to add a sweet note to this dish), and set aside to cool.
- To serve, toss carrots and beets with the prepared dressing. On a large platter, layer roasted chard on the bottom, top with carrots and beets and finish with a drizzle more of dressing, toasted pepitas, a sprinkle of sea salt and a few twists of black pepper.
Recipe adapted from Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper as featured on With Food + Love.