After traveling and lots of meals on the road, I want to hang: play music, watch B-rated TV, snack too much, and be lazy. Of course, then I’ll try to make up for it with an easy, seasonal salad like this Root Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Date Vinaigrette recipe.
The only problem is not having the patience to wait for the vegetables to roast, but it is worth it, with salty feta, sweet-tangy balsamic-date vinaigrette, and lots of roasted root vegetables.
What Root Vegetables Work?
To be honest, this is a sort of “kitchen sink” recipe in the sense that you can use whatever root vegetables you have on hand or need to clear out of your refrigerator be it onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, or even radishes. However, if we had a choice, we’d say the combination of onions, carrots, and parsnips is our favorite.
What Is Balsamic Date Vinaigrette?
We have been making this date vinaigrette for years because it’s all the things we love about a balsamic vinaigrette — tangy, flavorful, and sweet — and it’s also naturally sweetened.
Which Dates Can You Use In This Recipe?
We like to use Medjool dates in this recipes because they bring a sort of honey or toffee note to the dressing but any pitted dates can work. You just want the dates to be soft enough so they blend easily. If needed, you can soften the dates by putting them in a microwave-safe container with a few tablespoons of water and cooking them for 30 seconds. Just discard the water before making the vinaigrette.
How To Use This Vinaigrette
We like this vinaigrette anywhere that we’d use a balsamic vinaigrette from a sandwich to a salad. But the flavors work best on heartier greens and vegetables so we usually pull it out in the fall and winter. In other words, don’t use this on peas or other spring produce, as it will overwhelm them!
Root Vegetable Salad with Date Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
For The Date Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 8 large Medjool dates pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
For The Roasted Root Vegetables:
- 1 1/4 pounds carrots peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound parsnips peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 ounces turnips peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil
- 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 medium white onion cut into 2-inch wedges
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces baby spinach and/or mixed spicy greens
- 3 ounces Feta cheese crumbled (optional)
- Make The Date Balsamic Vinaigrette: Combine 1/3 cup of the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, water, dates, shallots, and Dijon mustard in a blender and process until very smooth. Season to taste and set aside until ready to use.TIP: Prepare the dressing up to one week ahead of time. Store it refrigerated in an airtight container. Let warm to room temperature and stir before using.
- Roast The Root Vegetables: Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Meanwhile, divide the carrots, parsnips, and turnips between two rimmed baking sheets. Toss the vegetables in each pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil and half of the thyme. Arrange the onion wedges on the baking sheets, keeping them intact. Brush the onion wedges all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, then season all the vegetables with salt and pepper.Roast the vegetables until they’re knife tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove vegetables from the oven and let them cool slightly.TIP: Roast the vegetables up to three days ahead of time. Store it refrigerated in an airtight container and bring them to room temperature before using.
- Serve The Roasted Root Vegetable Salad: To serve, divide greens among serving plates, top with roasted vegetables and cheese, if using, drizzle each salad with vinaigrette and pass more on the side.