This is a lovely marinated vegetable salad that’s perfect to make ahead and serve at room temperature. It’s great as a side dish or as an appetizer. I served it recently as part of a tapas platter at an appetizer potluck event.
This salad, like many of my best recipe ideas, came from an attempt to use up what’s in my refrigerator. While that may not sound glamorous, that is what professional chefs do on a daily basis. It is one of the first lessons (commandments, really) that I was taught in culinary school. It’s a skill that serves me equally well cooking at home.
Last week, I was looking in my fridge at a pound of asparagus, a pound of mushrooms, and a bunch of red bell peppers. I also happened to be going away for the weekend and needed an appetizer or salad to bring along. I’m a big fan of roasted veggies and Spanish flavors, so a marinated salad came to mind. It was a hit. I’m sure I’ll be making it again very soon.
As I was dicing veggies, I was musing over Spanish appetizers and decided to make the salad part of a tapas platter. I purchased some Manchego cheese, then added green olives and Marcona almonds, both of which I always have on hand. Deb and I felt we needed to test the combination, which we did along with a glass of inexpensive Spanish Tempranillo, and we deemed it a winner. It didn’t look or feel one bit like a low carb “diet” compromise, which is always the goal.
I hope it goes without saying that you can subsitute whatever fresh veggies and herbs you have on hand that you think will complement one another. You may need to adjust the roasting time up or down depending on the vegetables you use. The key is to not overcook them. You want them still a bit firm (al dente, like pasta), so they’ll hold up after marinating in the vinaigrette. I made the salad a day ahead, let it come to room temperature (a few hours on the counter), and it was perfectly delicious.
What vegetables are waiting in your refrigerator for you to turn into something wonderful?
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 2 large red bell pepper
- 1 pound fresh crimini mushrooms (baby portobellos)
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and/or chives
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Spanish Vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika, sweet
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat oven to 450F. Line 18"x13"x1" rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
- Rinse asparagus, trim and discard tough ends, and cut remaining stalks into 2" lengths. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Rinse, core, and seed red bell peppers. Cut lengthwise into 1" strips. Cut across strips into 1" diced pieces. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Rinse mushrooms in colander and shake to remove excess water. Trim stems. As mushrooms come in varying sizes, quarter large (more than 2"), halve medium (1-2") and leave small (less than 1") ones whole. Transfer to baking sheet with other vegetables.
- With additional paper towels, pat dry vegetables to remove as much moisture as possible. Remove all paper towels from pan and discard. Drizzle vegetables with avocado oil, season lightly with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Place in the upper rack of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
- While veggies are roasting, prepare vinaigrette and set aside.
- Remove sheet pan from oven, loosen vegetables from baking sheet with a thin spatula and lightly mix. Return to oven until asparagus is tender and bright green and vegetables have some dark brown edges, about 5 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Transfer vegetables to medium bowl, then toss with vinaigrette and fresh herbs to blend. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while warm or let cool to room temperature.
- Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Several hours before serving, remove from refrigerator and set on counter to come to room temperature.
*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from www.nutritiondata.self.com, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.
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