Fall Harvest Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (plant-based, vegan)

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Big salads with lots of toppings make all the difference! This one is loaded with roasted veggies, crunchy tart apples and lots of fresh veggies. I can’t get enough roasted veggies right now. I think they are a great way to make salads more satisfying, filling and savory. Butternut squash and Brussels sprouts are two of my faves and are easy to find right now. Feel free to use other vegetables or add sweet potatoes or anything else you like. Keep in mind you may have to adjust the roasting time if you make any substitutions. Generally speaking, more tender veggies will take less time. For example, I would only roast asparagus for about 8 minutes. Root vegetables and harder vegetables like cauliflower will take longer. This salad is super versatile, so feel free to make your own version!

First you will start with roasting the veggies and chickpeas. I find going light on the oil helps brown the veggies and will not make them soggy. The more oil you use, the veggies will be more soggy. While the vegetables are roasting, you will get all the salad veggies chopped and the dressing mixed up. All in all should take you 30-35 minutes. This salad would be great as a side or a main course.

You may notice I use balsamic dressing a lot. This dressing is just so delicious. Its sweet, savory and tart flavor goes particularly well with this salad. Just thinking about it actually is making me hungry right now! This dressing is just so super versatile, so I love to use it; and the bonus is, everyone loves it!

Roasted Veggie Ingredients

1/2 large butternut squash or 1 small butternut squash (approx 3-4 cups)

12 oz Brussels sprouts (one small bag)

1 can chickpeas

3 teaspoons avocado oil

spices: 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, and additional spices for chickpeas

Salad Ingredients

1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and spun dry

4 oz baby arugula (one small bag)

2 cups sliced red cabbage

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 large honey crisp apple, diced small

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup pumpkin seeds

Dressing Ingredients

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey

1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line one large baking sheet and one small baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone liner.

  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Blot with a towel. Add chickpeas to small baking sheet to dry for a bit.

  3. Cut butternut squash into 1 inch cubes and cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Add to the large baking sheet and spray or drizzle 2 teaspoons of avocado oil on. Sprinkle on the spices (1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper). Stir together and spread the squash and Brussels evenly on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

  4. Spray or drizzle 1 teaspoon of avocado oil on the chickpeas. Add salt, pepper, paprika, or any spices you like. Stir together, spread chickpeas out. When the timer goes off, put chickpeas in oven and set timer for 15 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, prepare all of your salad ingredients and add them to a large serving bowl.

  6. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a glass jar and shake to mix thoroughly.

  7. When the timer goes off, remove the chickpeas. Check the veggies. If they are browned to your liking, remove them from the oven. If not, cook them for 5 minutes more.

  8. The chickpeas will crisp more as they cool. Let the veggies cool off a touch before adding them to the salad and serving.

  9. If storing any salad for later use, please let the veggies cool before adding them to the salad and putting them in the fridge.