Caramelized Root Vegetable Salad

Image of caramelized root vegetable salad served over romain lettuceUntil I decided to try making salads with winter vegetables, I wasn't crazy about beets. In fact, I wasn't a fan of carrots and I don't remember ever tasting a rutabaga.

image of a variety of root vegetables at the market

When I saw this display of organic root vegetables, I knew I had to try to add these seasonal veggies into my winter meals. Now I'm a convert!

The first time I had roasted beets in a salad I was surprised - they were a lot better than I remembered. So, I picked up some beets, carrots and a rutabaga and started experimenting. The result is this colorful, nutrition-rich salad. Since I used nuts and cheese as a garnish, I figured I was getting enough protein, so it was a meat-free meal.

Time: 30 minutes prep. 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Serves 4
Level: Easy

beets and rutabagas washed and trimmed, not yet peeled
3 beets
2 carrots
1 rutabaga
Olive oil, enough to coat the vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh, chopped herbs (I used 1 sprig of rosemary)
1/4 cup feta cheese (chèvre is good too)
Romaine Lettuce
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Keeping in mind that beets stain just about everything they touch, you'll want to be prepared with glass bowls, a non-wood cutting board, and a metal spoon. Trim and peel the vegetables, then chop into 1 inch pieces and place in separate mixing bowls. Throughout the process I kept the beets separate from the rest to avoid the transfer of color onto the other veggies.
image shows one bowl with chopped rutabagas and carrots, the other bowl with chopped beetsPour olive oil in each bowl of veggies. Add herbs and sprinkle generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir them until all of the vegetables are evenly coated.

Put veggies in a baking dish and roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour,
image showing how I kept the beets separate from the rutabagas and carrots in the baking dishstirring halfway through. Be very careful with the cooking time, at 400 degrees the small pieces and herbs burn quickly!

Image of the salad finished and dressed with cheese, nuts and balsamic vinegarOnce cooked (tender when pierced with a fork) let them cool a bit, and place them in a large serving bowl. Add arugula and mix well. Top with nuts and cheese then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.