Another long title and another healthy offering and...another winner!! For Day 2 of healthy eating, I present you this very interesting and chock-full-of-goodies Roasted Carrot, Almond, Craisin, Feta & Arugula Salad. Didn't want to leave any of the ingredients out here either because it's the very nature of the combo of all these diverse tastes and textures, that makes for such a memorable dish. If you're trying to stay on the healthy eating path, I suggest you make this for dinner tonight, and if you do, can you invite us over? I brought this to my sister's house for New Year's Day and there were no leftovers!!
If you're not in the habit of adding roasted veggies to your salads (like me) it's definitely time to start. Here I've used carrots, but roasted parnsips, sweet potatoes, squash or even broccoli or brussels sprouts would add that slightly charred caramelized sweetness, taking ordinary greens over the top with very little effort on your part. Let's make the roasting veggies in salad our new "thing"!
Every bite of this is sweet, salty, chewy, leafy, crunchy and just plain wonderful. And it's totally versatile--sub in or out anything you don't like or have on hand--like say, swapping in toasted walnuts for the almonds or dried cherries or raisins for the dried cranberries. It's the sort of salad you hope you'll get in a fancy bistro but now can make anytime in the convenience of your own kitchen. With treats like this we're gonna be skinny in no time!! Yeah, 2017!!
Roasted Carrot, Almond, Craisin, Feta & Arugula Salad
Makes 6 servings as a side dish
Prep Time for Carrots: About 30 minutes of roasting time: Prep Time for Salad: 15 minutes
- 2 pounds of best carrots you can buy (I used a combo of regular and heirloom carrots)
- Scant 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for taste
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
- 6 ounces baby arugula
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds (or any roasted nut you prefer)
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Peel carrots and cut into large diagonal slices--if you cut them too small they will shrink too much while you roast them and you want them to feel substantial in the salad. Place the carrots in a bowl and toss with the scant 1/4 cup oil, teaspoon of salt and pepper to coat well. Spread onto two separate rimmed baking sheets so that they are very spread out and roast for 20 minutes, reversing the pans top to bottom and front to back half way through and tossing the carrots once then too. Transfer all the carrots to one pan, pour on the maple syrup, toss well and roast for another 10-15 minutes, until the carrots have caramelized but are not blackened or burnt. Spread some paper towels on the counter and using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to the paper to drain off some of the oil mixture.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad. Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil with the grated garlic, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
4. Place the arugula in a large bowl. Top with the carrots, feta and almonds. Pour on the cooled cranberry mixture and the vinaigrette and toss well. Serve immediately.
5. If you like, you can make the cranberry mixture and the vinaigrette a day ahead and keep covered and chilled. You can also prep your carrots ahead of time (peeling and cutting) and keep them refrigerated. Then just toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast when ready. Also, this recipe doubles well for a large crowd.
Note: Recipe adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten. I tinkered around a lot with this--subbed in some heirloom carrots, cut down on the oil, swapped feta for the goat cheese and used orange juice instead of freshly squeezed oranges because I forgot to buy them. This salad is very versatile. Make it your own.