Monday, April 13, 2015

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Usually when I make a salad it's mostly vegetables and they are generally raw. But they don't have to be. This simple salad--perfect for a weeknight dinner--contains a mixture of roasted, brined and raw salad ingredients, a wonderful mixture of savory, sour, bitter, salty and sweet flavors. To make this come together even faster on a weeknight, roast the vegetables the previous day so they are ready to go.

I chose a mixture of red pepper, onion, zucchini and fennel for the roasted vegetables, along with sundried tomatoes, which I suppose are also roasted, just not by me. The vegetables made the kitchen smell really good while they were roasting. Not unlike the smell of a pizza topped with plenty of vegetables.

As a counterpoint to the savory-sweet flavors of the roasted vegetables, I added the salty-sour flavors of brined ingredients--olives and capers. A little fresh mozzarella finishes off what makes a Mediterranean-style salad that's simple to make yet complex in flavor.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 zucchini, quartered and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups baby arugula
8 oz. cherry-size fresh mozzarella balls
2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp. capers
1/4 cup green olives
1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine cut red pepper, onion, zucchini and fennel in a bowl. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, dried thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the vegetables are tender and brown around the edges, about 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine the roasted vegetables, arugula, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, capers and olives in a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and the vinegar, pour over salad and toss to coat and combine the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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