“April is the kindest month. April gets you out of your head and out working in the garden.”
― Marty Rubin
As spring continues to manifest itself, and we continue to dream about vegetable and flower gardens, I offer up a new recipe for you to try that perhaps has more of a wintery feel to it. However, I always try to find new ways to add sides to meals beyond the standard rice and potato dishes. While I try to reduce my carb intake, I also want to make sure that I am eating a wide range of foods. So if I am going to add starchy carbs to my plate, I want them to pack a nutritional punch.
One of my mantras that I have learned to live by is, “listen to your body.” I told my husband the other day that I have been craving the earthiness of beets, something fierce. He responded that it was probably my iron deficiency. Last summer my doctor confirmed my suspicion that my iron was low. While I take an iron supplement, I try to be mindful of adding iron rich foods to my diet. In the summer I have instant access to fresh greens from my garden and in the winter I purchase greens from the store. However, once greens are cut their nutritional value starts to diminish. That is why I feel it is important that if you are able you should grow your own, or buy local, if possible. It is also important that when eating foods rich in iron that you add Vitamin C to the dish (Vitamin C helps our bodies absorb iron). That is why when I make a green smoothie I add berries, I add a squeeze of lemon over green vegetables, and why I add citrus to my homemade salad dressing.
ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE SALAD WITH BABY KALE, WALNUTS, & ORANGE DILL DRESSING
*3 fresh beets
*4 medium carrots
*2 cups of baby kale
*salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste)
*2-3 cloves of minced garlic or 1 head of roasted garlic (roasting instructions to follow)
*2 Tablespoons of olive oil
*1 Tablespoon of honey
*1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
*¼ cup of chopped dill
*¼ cup of vinegar (your favorite kind – I used a combination of aged and white balsamic)
*¼ cup of feta or goat cheese
(This makes 2-3 servings)
Remove the greens and cut the beets into several pieces. Scrub well and leave the peelings on. If you have smaller beets you can cut in 1/2 or thirds. Once they are done roasting, the peels will slide right off. Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips.
Cover a baking sheet with tin foil (for easy clean up) and toss the root vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees (time may vary depending on your oven). After 10 minutes give them a toss. Let the vegetables cool before making the salad. They can be prepared the day before.
Fresh garlic works in this salad, but roasted garlic brings it to a whole new level. Since you are roasting vegetables, you might as well roast some garlic too. Roasting garlic makes it sweet, mellow, and creamy.
Slice the end off of the garlic bulb (the wider end). Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap in tinfoil. Place on the baking sheet. After roasting the garlic flesh will become soft and will slide right out of the bulb (allow to cool first). When I roast garlic I will often roast a few bulbs and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Zest part of the orange and cut in ½. Segment half of the orange for the salad and juice the other half. Add the orange juice and zest, ½ the roasted garlic (or 2-3 cloves fresh depending on how much you like garlic), honey, olive oil, vinegar, chopped dill, salt/pepper to taste, and whisk until incorporated.
Add the dressing to the roasted vegetables along with the orange segments, walnuts, and kale. I prefer to add the cheese to the top of the salad before serving so it stays firm. However, you can add and incorporate it into the salad.
This salad is versatile and you can swap out different ingredients. I have made it before with roasted radishes, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and even sweet potatoes. You can use lemon juice in place of the orange and add fresh berries or stone fruit for a more seasonal dish. You can candy the nuts and/or substitute almonds, pecans, or pistachios.
I hope you enjoy this salad and are looking forward to a spring and summer bathed in warmth and outdoor activities. I recently learned that I am going to be a vendor at a brand new farmers market that is popping up in Skandia. I am excited to be able to branch out further in sharing my passion for healthy food with others.
Whether you are popping some seeds into the ground, or supporting others in local food production, make sure you browse my growing list of recipes on the top tab. I can help you turn those ingredients into a wholesome feast. Cheers to listening to what our bodies need, fully embracing spring, and longer hours of light!