Roasted Winter Root Vegetable Salad

Autumn and winter root vegetables are a healthy and delicious, not to mention affordable, alternative to the more expensive hydroponic fare on offer in the larger supermarkets

Often overlooked, root vegetables are versatile and delicious. This simple recipe can be altered using whatever's on hand. In the autumn, I always add some pumpkin or other type of squash to the mix. If need be, dried herbs can be substituted for fresh, but many Prague supermarkets carry a mixture of fresh thyme, basil and oregano, called Provensálská směs, which works beautifully.
Ingredients
  • 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 kilo carrots, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch-thick rounds (about 4 cups)
  • 1 kilo parsnips, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch-thick rounds (about 4 cups)
  • 1 kilo turnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 kilo red beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 medium-size red onions (about 1/2 kilo), peeled, root ends left intact, quartered
  • 9 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 lemon juiced.
Roasting the Vegetables
Position first rack in top third and second rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 220°C. Rub two large pans with olive oil. Whisk 6 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons thyme, and 2 tablespoons sage, garlic, brown sugar and 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigre in large bowl. Add carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, beets, and onions and toss to coat. Sprinkle vegetables generously with sea salt and coarse ground pepper and divide between prepared baking pans. Roast vegetables until tender and brown in spots, turning occasionally, about 50 minutes. (Can be made four hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. If desired, rewarm in 160°C oven about 15 minutes).
Making the Vinaigrette
Whisk balsamic vinegar, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sage to blend in small bowl, lemon juice. Drizzle over roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with grated lemon peel. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to platter. This salad can be served hot, at room temperature or, my favorite, warm.
I usually make the vinaigrette ahead of time, abour 3 hours or so, and keep it at room temperature to let all the flavors come together. Just before service, warm the vinaigrtte in a stainless steel saucepot on very low heat while re-heating the vegetables. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. It should be only warm. Toss the vegetables in a bowl, maybe re-season with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

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