This Roasted Vegetable Salad has brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and tomatoes over hearty mixed whole grains, a tangy vegan herb dressing, and toasted pine nuts. It makes a perfect nourishing meal by itself and packs all kinds of different textures and flavors.
Winter Eating Habits
I think it’s a natural cycle – the body craves lots of rich foods as winter approaches because of the unpredictable environments we evolved in. Like an in-born safety mechanism.
But after we’ve settled into winter (and put on a few pounds) the body realizes there isn’t an emergency and goes back to craving nutrients rather than just calories.
Intro to the Roasted Vegetable Salad
I made this salad based on one that I saw in the Q4 issue of Forks Over Knives (a fantastic publication that I highly recommend). It combines some of my favorite techniques and ingredients so I wanted to share it with you.
The main elements of this salad are:
- The roasted mushrooms, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and shallots
- Steamed mixed whole grains
- The tangy and herby chickpea-based dressing
What makes this roasted vegetable salad great
Great Flavor from Roasting
Roasting does a couple of really nice things to vegetables. First, the high heat caramelizes the outside of the veggies, giving them a crispy texture and nutty flavor.
Second, roasting dehydrates the ingredients a little, which concentrates the flavor. This is especially great when it comes to mushrooms and tomatoes.
Nourishing Whole Foods
This salad uses an abundance of whole foods that are diverse in their nutrient content. No processed or refined ingredients.
I include the option to use a tiny bit of olive oil to roast the veggies, but you can easily (and deliciously) make this oil-free.
The dressing uses chickpeas to make a creamy oil-free dressing.
Each of the different veggies has a different feel in the mouth and, depending on which grains you use, you can get many more kinds of bites from the grains, too.
I used a combination of barley, wild rice, and quinoa. They each have a little bit of chew to them, but not in a bad way, and the different shapes add variety as well.
The toasted pine nuts add another layer of nuance to the salad.
Tweaks and Substitutions You Might Make
Different Roasted Veggies
I know not everyone is into mushrooms and brussels sprouts like I am. But you can roast other veggies and make an equally tasty and nutritious salad.
Some veggies I’d try in this are:
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes – you’ll need to chop them pretty small so they’ll cook through in the allotted cooking time
- Cabbage wedges – if you find brussels sprouts too bitter, regular cabbage will work, too. Cut it into medium-sized wedges to roast, then cut them to bite-size after roasting
- Asparagus – this needs less cooking time than the others, so add it toward the end of roasting
- Cloves of garlic – the original recipe included a head of garlic cloves! Garlic becomes mild when roasted so this should be pretty tasty.
- Carrots – cut them into half-inch slices and they’ll get caramelized and nicely sweet
What grains you use in this are really up to you.
Some other tasty and nutritious grains you might include in your mix are: brown rice; freekeh, bulgur, or other cracked wheat; amaranth, millet, lentils, and farro.
See the note below on grain cooking times.
You could try the maple mustard dressing from my sweet potato kale salad – it’s simple and just sweet enough.
If you’re in a pinch, though, here are some others you might try:
- A drizzle of tahini – it’s creamy and nutty, though pretty calorie-dense
- A splash of lemon juice or your favorite vinegar
- Sriracha mixed with (vegan) mayo – less healthy than the others, but easy and satisfying
A note on mixed grains
One thing to keep in mind – when you’re cooking a mixture of grains, the grain with the longest cooking time will determine your total cooking time.
So, if you’re cooking a mixture of three grains with cooking times of 15 minutes (e.g. quinoa), 40 minutes (e.g. barley), and 50 minutes (e.g. wild rice), you’ll need to steam the whole mixture for 50 minutes.
More of my favorite salads:
- Italian Fennel Radicchio Salad with Oranges and Olives – fresh bright flavors make a tasty salad that’s neither heavy nor light
- Vietnamese Jackfruit Salad – meaty jackfruit and lots of flavor pops make this one fun to eat
- Vegan Caesar Salad – has that classic caesar tang with no egg or dairy
- Watermelon & Arugula Salad – peppery leaves contrast so nicely with the watermelon
Dishes to pair with your roasted vegetable salad:
- Roasted Oyster Mushrooms – simple yet addictive
- Chilled Coconut Avocado Soup – supremely cooling and refreshing
- Air Fryer Tomatoes – concentrated flavor like sundried, but still juicy
- Minestrone Soup – for the ultimate soup-salad combo
As always, if you try this recipe out, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @gastroplant on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
- High Speed Blender
- 12 ounces whole brown mushrooms (340 grams) large ones cut in half
- 2.5 cups fresh Brussels sprouts halved
- 8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
- 6 shallots (about 6 ounces or 180 grams)
- Oil spray optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked whole grains see note
Topping / Garnish
- 3 Tablespoons pine nuts toasted
- Fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas drained; can use canned
- 1/2 cup unsweetened unflavored plant milk
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon “Italian” seasoning blend see note
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Prepare a large baking sheet with foil. Spray a very light layer of oil on the foil (if using oil). Arrange the mushrooms, sprouts, tomatoes, and shallots in a single layer on the sheet. Spray the vegetables with another very thin layer of oil. (If not using oil, sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of water.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast until the vegetables are browned and tender, a total of about 20 minutes. About 10 minutes into the roasting, stir and flip the vegetables and turn the heat up to 475 F (245 C) to get some more intense flavor development. Watch the vegetables after the 15-minute mark to make sure they don’t overcook. Let the Brussels sprouts be your guide - they should be bright green and if they start to turn a dull brownish-green (not caramelization, but overcooking) remove them immediately.
- To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients for it in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Combine the roasted vegetables and mixed grains in a large bowl. Top with pine nuts and parsley and drizzle with the dressing. Can be served warm or cold.
If you don’t have any “Italian” seasoning blend, a combination of oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, and tarragon will work.
The recipe produces about a cup of dressing, which you may not need all of for this salad.