Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Try This at Home Tuesday: Roasted Vegetable Salad

Happy Tuesday!  I'm kicking off a new post series today called "Try This at Home Tuesday" which will have a healthy living focus, at least for the month of January. I once heard the quote, "ounces are lost in the gym, pounds are lost in the kitchen" and I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I'm carrying around a little extra holiday/post-marathon (I tend to gain a bit after a race) weight so in January I will be focusing on cleaning up my eating. But sometimes healthy eating feels daunting because it requires a lot of research and effort in the kitchen so I think it's helpful when other share what they are doing. So hopefully those of you who are looking for ideas will be inspired to make something I share.

My focus in January will be salads to try at home. The salad I made for the first week of January is a copycat of a salad I have had a couple of times at a local salad place. It costs about $11 at this salad place so I was motivated to make it on my own. It is a winner because it has lots of different flavors and textures which is what I need in order to enjoy a salad as an entry.

The main feature of the salad is roasted vegetables. For mine, I roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and beets. I roasted them at 400F. The squash and brussel sprouts were done in about 30 minutes, the beets took closer to 50-60 minutes.

Mmm, roasted beets are delicious and so easy to make!
The other star of the salad is the dressing, which is an apple cider vinaigrette.

The recipe yielded more than this but I had already portioned out some before taking this picture.
Every time I make a salad dressing, I ask myself why I ever buy salad dressings, which are loaded with preservatives. I had everything on hand that this recipe called for:

- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1-2 T. honey, as needed for sweetness (I used 1 T.)
- 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

The green base of my salad is a 50/50 mix of spinach and a spring greens mix, and other toppings include shredded rotisserie chicken, cooked wild rice, craisins, sunflower seeds, chopped celery, and blue cheese. I realize that is a lot of ingredients but I need a high ratio of toppings to greens to make a salad filling.
My salad for lunch, all portioned out. I find it works best to put the toppings at the bottom and the greens on top, and I keep the craisins, sunflower seeds, blue cheese and dressing separate and mix before eating.
In total, I would say that I spent about an hour of active time prepping this salad. The food I prepped will yield at least 5 servings so the time spent is well worth it in my opinion. You could cut back the active time by buying a butternut squash that was already cut up. Lastly, while I did not calculate the cost, I know that it is well below the $11/serving that I would have paid at the local salad place, so it's also economical!

Do you pack your lunch for work?  If so, what do you tend to bring?


Charis Faith said...

That salad sounds fabulous! Since I wasn't eating sweets over the holidays I actually didn't gain any weight. I buy the organic frozen meals for my lunches because after reading about how awful traditional frozen entrees are for you I realized I needed to make some changes. I'm also doing the 21 day fast thing at church that we always do in January so in addition to no sweets, for the next 21 days I'm also doing no bread, no meat and no alcohol... 21 days never seems like a long time... until I try to give up wine... LOL!
Happy New Year!!! Excited for what 2016 holds for you!!!

Emilie said...

I only live a mile from home so I don't pack my lunch, but I do love when I have meals prepared so I can use more of my lunch hour for productive things rather than cooking. Pete packs his lunch though, and one of my goals this month is to do more meal prepping. These veggies are three of my favorites. I love, love, love roasted beets and I never think to make them myself even though they are SO easy to make. I also like a lot of toppings to make my salads more filling. I will definitely put this on my meal plan for next week. I am so excited for this series, great idea!

Marlys said...

Oh, wow, that looks delicious! I, too, wonder why I buy salad dressings as the vinaigrette is so simple and much tastier!
I am happy you are doing this healthy eating entry!

Alli said...

Yum! On Sunday night I made butternut quash soup and flatbread, and we started the meal out with one of my favorite salads that my mom makes. She usually uses spring greens, but I used romaine because it's what I had and it was still delicious. It also has, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, goat cheese, craisins and clementines (segments chopped in half) with honey balsamic vinaigrette. It's so good.

On Christmas my BIL's girlfriend made this salad that was so simple, but so delicious. It was spinach, arugula, shaved carrots, avocado, feta, sat, pepper, and olive oil. Like it should not have been that good, but we were all raving about it and I definitely want to add it to my repertoire.

I agree with you with needing a lot of toppings to make a meal out of a salad. Both of the salads above are more appetizer salads, but the salads I bring to work for lunch have a ridiculous amount of toppings.

Jenny said...

oh yum, I love roasted vegetables! and I'll certainly give the vinaigrette recipe a go too.

Kane and I both take packed lunches and he likes to leave the office so things that don't require utensils or heating are best which means we tend to have sandwiches, wraps and pita pockets.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love, love, love roasted vegetable salads!! Actually, we got hooked on them this year. So good! I always pack a lunch. I usually take leftovers, but sometimes we'll cook up a meal just to use for lunches. Other times, I'll make a chicken-cordon bleu (frozen from Costco), with some roasted potatoes if we don't have anything else made. Very rarely will I take a cold lunch, as I find my day is just better when I have a nice warm lunch to look forward to. The odd time I'll grab lunch out - a sub or pita or something like that.

Amber said...

Yum! That sounds like an awesome salad for lunches!!! Love the roasted vegetables on it, that would probably make it really filling. I have been having salads with chicken on them for lunch all week and I'm already feeling better. And tonight I'm enjoying a delicious piece of salmon with wild rice. It really does feel good to clean up my eating in January!

I will definitely have to add this salad to the rotation soon - especially since I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter just begging to be used :)

Gracie said...

that looks good - I love roasted vegetables. I make salads for every day (smaller side salads) and also bring leftovers, plus fruit and a snack. I work for 9 hours on my feet and walking around, so I eat a lot at work.

Stephany said...

I wish I could be a salad-for-lunch person, but I'm just not. Your salad sounds delicious, though! I bring my lunch every day and it's usually leftovers.

Jeanie said...

That's a showstopper salad -- it could be a main course. Definitely copying down that dressing recipe. Looks delicious. I love roasted veggies (hold the beets, please!) and the salad looks to die for. I'm definitely bookmarking this one!

Elizabeth said...

That sounds Amazing....and I'm going to look forward to these posts :)

Abby said...

OMG I have to make this! Yum!!! Love salads like this!!!

I always bring lunches to work. Ryan and I try meal prepping chicken breasts, vegetables (broccoli or green beans), and rice...and I pre-package those for the week. I also make a lot of salads. Or I'll make a frittata for dinner, and use the other half for lunch the next day.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I've been trying to do heftier salads. Last week I had rotisserie chicken to add or pulled pork and that was yummy. I also love using hard boiled eggs. For some reason I just don't like carrots in my salads. I never know what else to put in. I usually like colored vegetables and cucumbers too. I picked up the olive garden Italian dressing this weekend and I'm excited to try that with my salads this week.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Yum! That sounds delicious! I really enjoy the toppings on the salads more than the lettuce portion, so this looks great to me. I always have issues at those "weigh your salad" places because mine is all of the heavy stuff!! I also love that you made your own dressing, as it is so easy and like you said, does not have all of the junk in it that a bottled one does. However, I too fall into the trap of just using packaged dressing sometimes!

Sometimes when I have a salad for lunch it is just not enough and I end up snacking on crappy stuff, so I have to be careful that I have enough calories or it pretty much negates the goodness of the salad!

San said...

I love your new series and am curious what you come up with. I tend to bring my lunch to work 99.9% of the time and it's either leftovers, salads, sandwiches or soups.