I look so forward to the Thanksgiving meal every year. I roast a no fail Rosemary Turkey, my grandma’s Chicken and Dressing, my sister’s Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes, my mom’s Squash Casserole and Ambrosia, and my spin on turnip greens and corn soufflé. These menu items are non-negotiable and always present. But besides the greens and cranberry relish, this feast turns out looking pretty darn beige on the table! What do you say we invite a new side dish this Thanksgiving? You know…one that will impress your taste buds and add vibrant color to your plate! I created it a couple weeks ago, very much by accident, and immediately knew I was on to something.
MIXED GREENS WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND ONIONS, DRIED CRANBERRIES, GRANNY SMITH APPLES, TOASTED PECANS AND PARMESAN
This beautiful, warm salad personifies all things Thanksgiving! You’ve got the beautiful gorgeous sweet potatoes (Thanksgiving staple), Dried Cranberries (staple), green apples (again) and pecans (duh). It’s the perfect accompaniment to, what is usually, a very heavy meal.It can be served warm or made ahead and served at room temperature. And…IT’S GORGEOUS!!! Like, show stoppingly gorgeous. Especially when you put it in a flashy bowl! Your guests will think you really slaved on this one…but you didn’t (wink wink).
The key to this salad’s success is the dice of the veggies. The dice is purposely small so that roasting time is a mere 30 minutes. The sweet potato and onion pieces receive a nice little char and caramelization from the olive oil and lime juice. Salad leaves also receive a rough chop before final assembly. Dressing you ask? Here’s the best part. The oil from the roasted vegetable is so flavorful that you don’t need additional dressing. I splash a little olive oil on my salad greens along with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice and it’s done! The result is a nutty, lightly sweet, tangy, crunchy, satisfying bite of side dish heaven.
I start with sweet potato discs and then cut crosswise so that pieces are uniform in size. They will cook evenly this way…and look more attractive in the salad. The onions get a small chop.
Roasted vegetable going into the oven and roasted veggies coming out. You will notice that you do not include the dried cranberries, apples or pecans until the end of the cooking process…otherwise, they will burn.
ROASTED SALAD INGREDIENTS (Serves 6):
- 1 5oz package mixed spring greens or arugula (I use a mix of both)
- 1 sweet potato; diced in small cubes
- 1/2 yellow onion; small dice
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries; roughly chopped
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple; small dice
- 1/2 cup pecans; chopped
- 1 lime; quartered
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese; grated
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Dice sweet potato and yellow onions as shown and place on a cookie sheet. Gently toss vegetables in enough olive oil to coat the vegetables but not be swimming in it (about 1/4 cup). Salt the veggies (about 1/2 tsp sprinkled evenly over top). Make sure there is room between vegetables for them to breathe. You don’t want to overcrowd, as this will create steamed veggies instead of roasted veggies. Place in a 400 degree oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
After the veggies have roasted for 15 minutes, take pan from oven and quickly squeeze the juice of 1/2 of lime over veggies. Stir (this will help veggies cook evenly). Return to oven.
You will now have 9 minutes remaining before you add your next ingredients to the cookie sheet. I use this time to dice my granny smith apple (leave the skin on…it’s fine) and roughly chop dried cranberries and pecans (or buy the pecans chopped in the bag, duh).
When your oven timer registers 6 minutes, add the dried cranberries, apple pieces and pecans to the pan. Squeeze a 1/4 wedge of lime over top and stir, spreading evenly on sheet. Watch carefully for the final 6 minutes of cooking. You don’t want your pecans to burn.
In this last six minutes, I roughly chop the salad greens and place in a large bowl. Salt and pepper the greens and add a splash more of olive oil and a squeeze of the last 1/4 wedge of lime. Toss to coat and let hang out until final assembly. (At this point, you can either assemble the salad with the warm veggies from oven or set the veggies aside for later. This salad is delicious warm from oven or at room temperature. You may also roast the veggies a day ahead and reheat before serving.)
Toss roasted veggies with salad greens and parmesan cheese. I like to keep a cup or so of roasted vegetable aside and place on top of the salad after it has been tossed. This is merely for “show,” as it would be just fine all tossed together. You may also want to dust the top of the finished salad with a bit more parmesan cheese.
I am so excited for you to try this salad…and not just for Thanksgiving! It makes a great weeknight supper…simply add chicken and bread and you have a healthy and hearty meal!
May your Thanksgiving be filled with love, laughter, family, friends, memories old and new, warm hearts and full bellies! I thank God for the opportunity to live, work and serve in this great country and thank you for your willingness to accept these little tidbits that I share. My cup overflows with blessings and encouragement from you.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!!! Love…Sabrina