The days are getting shorter and the chill in the air makes me want to hunker down and get cozy when the sun starts to set. I love the slower pace of Winter it always feels more restful to me. Maybe it's because my surroundings seem quiet and peaceful, trees and plants are dormant, birds are puffed up and silent when it's raining and our neighborhood fury friends are holed up much more. This season allows me to take a more old school approach to family time, spending our days on the mountain, an afternoon in a warm soaking pool, enjoying a Sunday dinner that has been cooking for hours. My cooking style is obviously altered by the season too, long braises, pots bubbling on the stove and more often than not a warm mug in my hand. The pantry takes on a whole new life, baskets of squash, a rainbow of potato varieties and big jars filled with an assortment of dried beans and hearty grains. All this goodness waiting to go into a Dutch oven or to be stirred lovingly on the stovetop.
This delicious salad is always on some type of rotation in our home. Sometimes I'll mix things up and serve this on top of lightly dressed arugula, other times I'll mix in some farro. The selection of vegetables could easily be switched up too, subbing in some squash or sweet peppers. Sky's the limit here people! I had the absolute pleasure of making this salad with my sweet friend Nicole the other day. It was the perfect Portland drizzly afternoon, we put on a hot kettle, made a big pot of tea and got to work. Once this came out of the oven, pictures were quickly taken and we tucked into a delicious warm lunch, one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.
Recipe adapted from Sophie Dahl
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 small celery root (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 small beet, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1 ounce feta, crumbled (1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium roasting pan, toss the onion, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, celery root and beet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring a few times, until tender and lightly browned in spots.
Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a work surface and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, mustard and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fold in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables and walnuts to the dressing and toss. Top the salad with feta and serve warm or at room temperature.