This roasted winter salad reminds me of the change of the seasons. When you're prepping the ingredients, the greens (spinach, parlsey, broccolini, asparagus) feel light and fresh. A quick roast in leeks and garlic, plus the finishing touch of crushed pistachios, feta and pomegranate, turn this dish into a hearty wintry salad pretty enough for any holiday table.
I've been sick with a cold that I finally caught from my daughter who first caught it from my son (blasted kindergarten) who also had strep throat just three weeks ago, which he also shared with me. It's been a rough month for the kiddos and I. Shockingly (and thankfully), Ian has been immune to our germs. So, as this cold bug hit the same day I had to prepare a turkey for an early Thanksgiving celebration (sorry, family), I stuffed my face and decided I'd give my body a big dose of nutrition the next day (alongside turkey and gravy leftovers). Enter this salad.
If there's such a thing as "health in a bowl," this is pretty close to that. Here's what's in it:
- broccolini + broccoli
- olive oil
- pomegranate arils
I won't go into the specific health benefits of each of these but most of the ingredients are highly nutrient-dense, and even big players in oncology nutrition due to their phytonutrients, antioxidants and potential anti-cancer properties. This roasted winter salad is also low-carb and keto-friendly. I should note the pomegranate arils alone have about 3 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of natural sugar for a two-tablespoon serving, which I don't think is too high but you can always leave them out. However, I think the pomegranate adds a sweet element to this salad, along with a pretty and festive touch.
bonus: how to open a pomegranate
I typically buy the pre-packaged seeds, but I opted for fresh pomegranate this year because they were $1 each (!!!) here in Arizona which seemed like a shockingly low price after living in Alaska for over a decade (is there a term for the opposite of sticker shock? Because that's how I feel every time I buy produce now and it's amazing). But if you've ever opened a fresh pomegranate, you know it's intimidating and messy with a high risk of pom juice stains. Quite the conundrum. A question for Google, no doubt. I found several videos and this Greatist article which successfully got me through it, using the "bowl of water" trick. Have you tried this?! It's simple and mess-free and should make some list of top ten life hacks, in my opinion.
let's make a roasted winter salad
Preheat your oven to 475°F. Remove the stalk from your broccoli and trim the ends of the broccolini stems. Cut both the broccoli and broccolini into small, one-inch pieces. Slice the leek in half length wise, then fan out all the layers as you rinse away all the dirt. Slice the white and light green part of the leek into thin pieces. I sometimes rinse leeks again after cutting them since they hold so much sand and grit.
Zest and juice one lemon, setting both ingredients aside. Slice the garlic cloves extra thin. In a bowl, toss the broccoli/broccolini/leek mixture in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables into a large roasting dish and sprinkle the garlic slivers on top. Set aside. Prepare your asparagus by trimming the hard ends off and cutting the stalks into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Place the asparagus onto a separate baking try, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with pepper.
Place the broccoli mixture on the top rack of the oven to roast for 10 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, put the asparagus on the rack below the other veggies and roast for the last 5 minutes. In the meantime, roughly chop your spinach and parsley.
When the vegetables are done roasting, take them out of the oven and transfer them into a large bowl, mixing in the spinach and parsley. Add the lemon juice and toss. The heat from the veggies will wilt the spinach a bit, which is what you want. Place in the refrigerator to cool, about 30 minutes to an hour, at least. I've eaten this warm and it's good that way, too!
While the salad is chilling, chop the pistachios (or other type of nut) and prepare the pomegranate arils for topping if you're using fresh pomegranate. When it's time to serve the salad, mix ½ cup to ¾ cup of pomegranate arils into the whole salad and top it with the chopped pistachios and feta. Or divvy out each topping as options to have on the side.
notes on roasted winter salad
- if you're dairy-free, you can easily swap out the feta for a type of nut cheese or vegan option
- if you're not a fan of pistachios, add some crunch to this salad with toasted pecans, chopped almonds or even this sweet, grain-free pumpkin granola
- this recipe serves 4-5, so if you're making this for a larger crowd, I recommend doubling
roasted winter saladCourse: main dish, saladsCuisine: low-carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free, vegan-friendlyDifficulty: easy
This roasted winter salad features asparagus, broccoli and leeks tossed with spinach, pomegranate arils and pistachios for a hearty and festive salad dish.
1 lb. broccoli
½ lb. broccolini
½ bunch asparagus
¾ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
8 oz. spinach
3 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juice and zest
4 tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup pomegranate arils
½ cup pistachios, chopped
4 oz. feta cheese*
- Preheat your oven to 475°F. Remove the broccoli stalk and trim the ends of the broccolini stems. Cut the broccoli and broccolini into small, one-inch pieces. Slice the leek in half length wise, fan out the layers and rinse out the dirt. Slice the white and light green part of the leek into thin pieces.
- Zest and juice one lemon, set aside. Thinly slice the garlic cloves. In a bowl, toss the broccoli/broccolini/leek mixture in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables into a large roasting dish and sprinkle the garlic slivers on top. Set aside. Trim the asparagus and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Place the asparagus on a separate baking try, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with pepper.
- Place the broccoli mixture on the top rack of the oven to roast for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the sheet of asparagus to the oven, placing it on the rack below the other veggies. All the vegetables will roast together for the remaining 5 minutes of cook time.
- Roughly chop the spinach and parsley. When the vegetables are done roasting, remove them from the oven and transfer the vegetables into a large mixing bowl to toss with the spinach and parsley. Sprinkle in the lemon juice and combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
- To serve, top with chopped pistachios, feta and pomegranate arils.
- to make this winter roasted salad vegan, swap out the feta for a type of nut cheese