Happy New Year! If you are like many people, the festivities of the holidays may have left you with a few extra pounds and a feeling of lethargy you'd like to send packing. That said, in winter, eating healthy often feels like a chore. Cold weather steers us toward toasty comfort food and sometimes even finding fresh produce can be a challenge. So why not take baby steps with a bright and colorful salad featuring winter roasted vegetables, a bit of crumbled blue cheese, and some roasted sunflowers? The result is healthy fare dressed in a bit of warmth, some tangy, creamy cheese, and a little salty crunch. What's not to love?
The vegetables called for in this salad come from what I had on hand and what would bring some bright color to my plate. Feel free to choose others, but steer clear or just regular spuds. Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses and roast up beautifully for a dish like this. I had golden beets on hand, but red beets or candy cane turnips would also be quite pretty. Red onion is super tasty and downright pretty in a dish like this. You can, of course, skip the cheese and seeds, but try to find some fun addition to add texture and a pop of flavor to this one. Even a little crumbled, crisp bacon will do the trick.
I love serving this salad alongside seared salmon or roasted pork tenderloin. Both are lean sources of protein that will round out this meal in a way that won't have you focusing on how healthy your meal is. Instead, you'll be busy licking your plate clean! Healthy eating just got easier.
- 1 medium sweet potato, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 medium golden beet, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 tsp. seasoning blend of your choice - I chose Penzeys Outrage of Love
- 10 oz. mixed salad greens
- 2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- 2 T. roasted, salted sunflower seeds
Add the chopped sweet potatoes and beets as well as the sliced red onions with the olive oil and seasoning blend of your choice in a large bowl to evenly coat with both the oil and the seasonings. Prepare your air fryer to cook them for 25 minutes at 400° F. If you do not have an air fryer, place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a large cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 400° F.
Either air fry the vegetables as indicated above or place them evenly on the prepared pan and roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. In either case, gently stir the vegetables about halfway through the process. Remove from the fryer or oven and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
In a large, shallow serving bowl, add the salad greens of your choice. I opted for a mix of greens and edible flowers to bring a lot of color to the table. Add the roasted vegetables to the top of the greens and sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese and roasted sunflower seeds.
Serve the salad as is or with a light dressing. A maple-mustard vinaigrette is often favored in my home.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 40 minutes (1 hour if using the oven)