This Winter Arugula Salad combines delicious roasted vegetables with spicy arugula to make a light and healthy meal! I am a sucker for roasted veggies. The roasting process brings out so many natural flavors that I love. There’s something wonderful about being able to throw simple, fresh ingredients into the oven, let them go for a while, and then have an incredible dish ready to eat without any additional steps. It almost seems too good to be true, right?
WHY USE PARCHMENT PAPER?
And since we’re talking about roasting, maybe it’s time I tell you about my love affair with parchment paper. You’ll start to notice that every time I tell you to cook something in the oven, I’ll suggest you use a “baking sheet lined with parchment paper”. Just a few examples include Asian Kale Coconut Chicken, Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta, and Sweet Potato Fuji Apple Soup with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon.
Why do I strongly encourage you to use parchment paper when cooking in your oven? There are several reasons I suggest you start using parchment paper if you haven’t already.
Reason #1, the clean up is SO MUCH BETTER. Rather than having all those tough to remove spots on your pans, you simply remove the parchment paper and have so much less scrubbing to do.
You might not need any more reasons, but reason #2 is actually my favorite. Cooking with parchment paper prevents burning while still allowing your ingredients to reach the desired crispiness! I swear I don’t understand how it works but I am a huge fan of the way my ingredients cook on this stuff.
And for those of us who are looking out for our environment, reason #3 is that parchment paper is reusable. For example, I can keep the same parchment paper on my baking sheet for dozens of cookies. That’s not bad either.
So now that we’ve all run to the store and purchased a drawer full of parchment paper, let’s talk about this salad. Adding roasted veggies to a salad is such a simple way to create a salad that incorporates complex, winter flavors. I find it easy to create summer salads full of fruits, crisp veggies and other bright flavors. But I love the challenge of creating a salad suited for the cooler months. The roasted veggies pair so well with the smoked prosciutto and toasted pine nuts. And the Parmesan cheese doesn’t hurt either.
Making your own dressing can also help create a more seasonal flavor. This homemade dressing uses the warmth of red pepper flakes, which makes this lemon vinaigrette match the winter flavors very well. Using winter fruits, such as my favorite blood orange, is another fantastic base for a homemade dressing that is fit for the winter months.
We ate this salad for dinner, but it also makes a great make-ahead meal. If packing for lunch the next day, feel free to combine all the ingredients ahead of time except the dressing. Pack your dressing in a separate container to be added right before eating.
Please let us know what you think about this recipe and how it turned out for you! We’d also love to hear about any of your other favorite winter salad ideas! We can use all the help we can get staying healthy at the end of this winter season.
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 package baby arugula, about 5 ounces
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4-6 slices prosciutto, in bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cauliflower and sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the vegetables are roasting you can make the dressing. In a small mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes. Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil until incorporated. Season with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss together the arugula with the lemon dressing, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Plate the salad, and garnish with prosciutto, toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.