Beautiful and delicious! The caramelization of the roasted vegetables softens the texture and completely transforms their flavour. The creamy beans add yet another layer of texture and an element of comfort. The herbs freshen everything up and the feta adds more creaminess and briney salinity. The vinaigrette brightens it all up with a little burst of acidity. Each element has it’s say making it all wonderfully earthy and fresh.
This salad is a testament to how simple, common ingredients can be transformed into something luxurious. Here, quality and freshness play an important roll as these vegetables will be the star of the show! So the fresher the vegetables, the better this salad will taste.
When I first saw this salad featured on the Netflix special Salt Fat Acid Heat, I knew I’d love it! I could almost taste it! The very same week, I made it and had it for dinner and as I suspected, I wasn’t disappointed. I felt happy and fulfilled 🙂 It touched all of my happy food sensors. Food can do that sometimes and who would have guessed it could be from a completely vegetarian dish.
Roasted Vegetable Salad with White Beans, Fresh Herbs and Feta
Roasted vegetables combined with the creamy beans and feta with the fresh burst provided by the herbs and vinaigrette makes for a really unbelievably delicious and satisfying salad.
If you wanted to, I could see this going very well will good quality oil-packed tuna. It would make a great, well rounded lunch!
Serve it as a main for 2 people or as a side for 4 people.
Place oven racks in lower middle and upper middle positions. Preheat oven to 425°F.
Halve Brussels sprouts through the stems, then place in a large bowl. Toss with enough oil to coat, about 3 tablespoons. Season with salt and place in a single layer on one side of a large baking sheet.
Trim the Broccoli and cut into 3/4 inch thick slices through the root. Place into the same bowl and toss. Place on the other side of the same baking sheet.
Place the carrots in the same large bowl and toss, adding more oil as needed to coat. Season with salt and place in a single layer on one side a second baking sheet.
Lightly trim the root end of the cauliflower (or romanesco), then cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices through the root. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons oil onto another baking sheet and lay slices in a single layer, keeping cauliflower on one side of the pan and carrots on the other side. Avoid overcrowding the vegetables—they should not touch. (If needed use another pan for overflow.)
Place vegetables into oven and cook until tender and caramelized, about 26 to 30 minutes. Check on the vegetables after about 12 minutes. Rotate the pans and switch their positions to ensure even browning.
When the roasted vegetables are brown on the outside and completely tender when pierced with a knife, remove them from the oven. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. (Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts cook at a similar rate and will be cooked before the cauliflower and carrots)
Meanwhile. Drain and rinse your canned beans. Simmer in a small pot of boiling water with a glug of olive oil, salt and a bay leaf. Simmer for aprox 10 minutes. Reserving some of the cooking liquid, drain beans and place into large bowl.
Dress with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette and season with salt and 1 teaspoon za'atar. Add a little bean liquid to make it juicy.
Taste and adjust dressing and seasoning as needed.
To assemble salad, layer cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts on a large platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette, sprinkle with za'atar, then spoon beans over vegetables. Sprinkle with large crumbles of feta. In a medium bowl, lightly dress cilantro, dill, and mint with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and salt. Place atop salad and serve immediately.
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl or jar, let the shallot sit in the vinegar for 15 minutes, then add the olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and a small pinch of pepper. Stir or shake to combine, then taste with one of the vegetables and adjust salt and acid as needed. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Substituting vegetables: In the winter substitute broccoli, sweet potatoes, turnips or any other root vegetable for the cauliflower, romanesco, and/or Brussels sprouts. In the summer, substitute with zucchini, sweet peppers or eggplant.
Za'atar: If you can't find za'atar at your local Middle Eastern grocer, make your own. Coarsely grind 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon ground sumac (if available), and a large pinch of salt together in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Don't over-grind — there should still be lots of sesame seeds left whole. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool spot for up to 3 months.
Technique tips: Roast different vegetables separately — they'll cook at different rates and this way you can make sure they are all properly cooked. When roasting vegetables, space them out so they don't touch. Overpacking the pan will cause the vegetables to steam and get mushy instead of crisp and brown.
Using dried white beans: You can use dried beans that have been soaked overnight. They will need much more simmering time, minimum 30 minutes.