Roasted Vegetables Are The Hearty Addition Your Fall Salad Craves

Tray of roasted fall vegetables
Tray of roasted fall vegetables - Jenifoto/Getty Images

There's nothing like a platter of roasted fall vegetables. Carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts — roasted to golden-brown perfection in the oven with seasonings and maybe a sprinkle of herbs -- make a beautiful side dish to whatever protein they're accompanying. But these autumn delights are even more at home nestled in some greens or grains as a welcome component of a lush autumn salad. The varied texture and rich, roasted flavor of the veggies complement crisp, fresh greens and bright, acidic salad dressing to create a bounty of fall flavor in a bowl.

The best part? You can prep and roast your veggies ahead of time, allowing you to whip up a meal quickly whenever you need one, or pre-pack your meal-prepped salads for on-the-go lunches. Roasted veggies are great hot, room temperature, or cold and keep well for several days in the fridge -- especially the more robust root vegetables.

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Roasting The Perfect Salad Vegetables

Grain and kale salad with roasted squash
Grain and kale salad with roasted squash - Haoliang/Getty Images

Any number of fall vegetables will benefit from a good roasting — root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, and carrots all roast beautifully. Squashes like butternut, acorn, and pumpkin add sweetness, even caramelizing a little in the oven. Cruciferous veggies, especially Brussels sprouts and kale, will crisp up and even char a bit around the edges. Cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, and mushrooms also work wonderfully when roasted for a salad.

Every veggie will roast for different amounts of time, but each starts the same: coat the veggies in a healthy dose of olive oil (or whichever oil you'll be using to roast), then season with salt, pepper, and your preference of fresh or dried herbs and spices. Then, try laying them out on a prepared baking sheet and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

For root veggies, you'll want to roast for about 30 to 45 minutes. Cruciferous veggies will take about 25 minutes (though kale will take less time than Brussels sprouts and broccoli); squashes will take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. Keep an eye on the vegetables as they cook to prevent burning, and stir or flip them during cooking to ensure they're evenly roasted.

Tips For An Ideal Roasted Veggie Salad

Roasted veggie salad on grains
Roasted veggie salad on grains - Haoliang/Getty Images

Putting together that perfect autumn salad is a matter of choosing the right vegetables. A good salad is a balanced salad; too many soft veggies and your salad may become limp, but too many crunchy ones and your mouth might need a rest. Balance milder ingredients like eggplant, butternut squash, and mushrooms with more toothsome, crispy veggies like potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

You might also consider adding extra ingredients to the mix, such as cheese or nuts and seeds. Chopped nuts like almonds or crunchy pumpkin seeds make an excellent topping for added texture and savoriness. Cheeses like feta and goat cheese tend to mix well with the flavors of fall vegetables, complementing the roasted flavor.

The dressing ties everything together; go for one with a bit of acidity and sweetness, such as a maple or balsamic vinaigrette. Heavy, creamy dressings will overpower the salad and weigh everything down; you want a light, bright dressing to finish the dish.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.