The idea of a meal that needs to be composed of a meat and three sides all separated on one plate is no more! We eat differently than previous generations, craving new foods, and we need meals to fit in our schedule. Whether you have a large family or are single and want a wholesome meal after work, the basic need is all the same: a healthy, filling meal full of flavor and excitement. A salad can check all of those boxes and leave you satisfied. This roasted winter root vegetable salad topped with salmon will do just that!
My salads change with the seasons, based on what is growing in the garden. By no means do I expect everyone to want to grow the food I do. Living by the seasons doesn’t mean you need to grow it all on your own, but instead, buy what’s in season.
Winter root vegetables are harvested in the fall and stored for use during the winter. In years past, this was out of pure necessity, especially in areas like Iowa where the winters are cold and long and at one time, fresh produce was not readily available to buy.
Storing the vegetables is also important for the flavor. After they’re picked, they go through self-preservation stages that condense their sugars and bring out more flavor. In short, if you can buy and use local, you’re getting better quality and more flavor. Shop local!
For this salad, I’m using vegetables full of nutrients, and more importantly, flavor. To make this meal easy without compromising the taste, I use these foundations:
- All vegetables are cut to the same size, ensuring they roast at the same time.
- Fat carries flavor. Olive oil is essential in roasting any vegetable to bring out its flavor.
- Miso adds a depth of flavor and complements the rich flavors of root vegetables.
- Salmon filets are packed full of essential omegas and roast quickly.
The miso paste is the surprising boost in the salad. Miso is a mixture of rice, barley or soybeans, and salt. After some fermentation, it’s an amazing flavor that can be used in so many ways.
To complement the miso, the dressing has roasted sesame oil that, when tossed with the greens, vegetables, and salmon, rounds out and truly finishes the entire dish.
Watch how to make this salmon salad:
Roasted Vegetable and Salmon Salad
For the salad
- 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 lb sweet potato, diced into bite-size pieces
- 1 red beet, diced into bite-size pieces
- 2 5 oz salmon filets
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp yellow miso paste
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 bunch or head romaine lettuce
For the dressing
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp champagne or rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp toasted sesame seed oil
For the salad
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, miso, salt, and mustard. Stir together until well combined and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Make sure all vegetables are cut and diced to roughly the same size, about ½ inch to ¾ inch. Combine the vegetables on one large sheet pan and the salmon on one small sheet pan. Pour 4 tbsp of the miso mixture over the vegetables and stir until all the vegetables are well coated. Rub the remaining miso mixture on the salmon filets.
- Place both the vegetables and the salmon in the preheated oven. Roast the salmon until firm, 6-8 minutes. The USDA recommends cooking to 145°F. Remove from the oven and continue to roast vegetables until they are crisp-tender, 30-40 minutes in total. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing salad.
- To serve the salad, place greens on a platter. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the dressing (instructions below) over greens and stir to coat. Add prepared vegetables. Flake salmon filets with a fork and add over vegetables. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and remaining dressing to taste.
For the dressing
- In a dressing jar or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake until the dressing is emulsified, 1 minute. Set aside until ready to use.