It's Meat Free Week, a good time to try out some new vegetarian recipes. Roasting brings out the flavour and sweetness in vegetables and at this time of year, there are plenty of colourful varieties to choose from such as purple baby carrots, orange and yellow capsicum, eggplant, zucchini and leeks. I also like to sprinkle the vegetables with some cumin and fennel seeds before roasting, for extra flavour. For a more substantial salad, top with some fresh ripe figs (quartered) and crumbled soft goat's cheese.
- beetroot - 2 medium, trimmed (keep the leaves)
- parsnips - 2, peeled and cut in half lengthways, then into quarters
- red onion - 2, peeled and cut into quarters
- sweet potato (kumara) - 1 medium , peeled and cut into chunks
- red capscium - 1, cut into chunks
- ½ small cauliflower - broken into florets
- whole red or green chillies - 2
- extra virgin olive oil - for drizzling
- baby beetroot and spinach leaves - washed and dried, a good handful
- Salad Dressing
- extra virgin olive oil - 125ml (1/2 cup)
- balsamic vinegar - 60ml (3 tablespoons)
- Dijon mustard - 1 tablespoon
- garlic - 3 cloves, crushed
- Sea salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 200degC.
Wrap the beetroots in foil and place on a baking tray. Roast 20 - 30 minutes, then prepare the remaining vegetables: lightly brush them with olive oil. Place on a baking tray (you may need two baking trays), sprinkle with cumin and fennel seeds (if using) and roast until cooked and golden, 20 – 30 minutes.
Test beetroot with a small sharp knife. Remove from oven with tongs, take off foil and leave to cool slightly. Slip off skins, then cut into eighths. Set aside.
Remove remaining vegetables with tongs as they are cooked – the cauliflower, onions, capsicums and parsnips will be ready before the kumara. Leave to cool a little. Place in a serving bowl, drizzle over some of the salad dressing and toss together lightly with the leaves. Be careful not to overdo the dressing.Just before serving, add the beetroot wedges (these are added at the last minute so that they don’t “bleed”) drizzled with some of the dressing. Garnish with the roasted whole chillies.
To make the vinaigrette: dissolve the salt in the vinegar, whisk in the mustard and garlic then gradually whisk in the oil. Add the cracked black pepper. Drizzle over the salad.