Whether you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing salad for your Thanksgiving menu or a healthy lunch full of late autumn/winter produce, this naturally gluten free and vegetarian roasted winter vegetable salad with goat cheese and pepitas will satisfy your hunger and treat your tastebuds. Lightly spiced roasted cabbage, carrots, and Brussel sprouts are served on top of a bed of spinach and topped with creamy goat cheese, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and a whole grain mustard dressing.
Remember last week how I suggested tips for how to eat healthy this winter? Today I have a recipe that will help you do exactly that: a warm and flavorful roasted winter vegetable salad with goat cheese and pepitas that’s full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Let’s talk for a moment about cruciferous vegetables. This classification of vegetables includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. Cruciferous vegetables are in season in the colder months of the year. I have a mostly love relationship with cruciferous vegetables. I hate them when they’re raw, but I love them when they’re roasted and crispy (or, in the case of sauerkraut, when they’re fermented…yum!).
Cruciferous vegetables can be difficult to digest, especially when eaten raw. I’m sure that many of us have at some point eaten raw broccoli, only to feel bloated, or dined on raw Brussel sprouts, only for our stomachs to punish us for that later. To be completely honest, raw cruciferous vegetables also taste rather bitter. Thankfully, cooking your broccoli and cauliflower breaks down the bitter-tasting enzymes while releasing the natural sugars. This process transforms Brussel sprouts from nasty little vegetables that even the family dog won’t eat (actually, Charlie loves raw cruciferous vegetables) to delectable morsels of savory goodness.
Cooking your cruciferous vegetables also makes them easier to digest and thus makes the nutrients more readily available for your body. Cruciferous vegetables offer a wide variety of nutrients that bear many health benefits, particularly phytonutrients that help prevent a range of cancers and diseases. With better taste, easier digestion, and more nutrients, there’s not reason not to roast up your cruciferous vegetables!
Fun fact: to go along with last week’s etymology lesson, cruciferous vegetables received their moniker because of the cross-shaped stem found on them. Cruciferous means “cross-bearing” (cruci = cross, ferous comes from fero which means bearing) in Latin.
Roasting vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, is an absolutely fool-proof way to prepare them. There’s no risk of mushy Brussel sprouts like you would have from steaming them. You just preheat your oven, chop the vegetables, toss them with oil and spices, put them in the oven, and set a timer – no fuss! Because of the easy preparation, this roasted winter vegetable salad with goat cheese and pepitas will make a simple yet delicious and festive option for your Thanksgiving menu.
While roasted red cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and carrots are delicious on their own, this roasted winter vegetables salad adds the perfect complementary flavors to elevate them from “good” to “best vegetables ever” status. Creamy goat cheese, crunchy and salty pumpkin seeds, and an earthy whole grain mustard dressing, all on a bed of spinach, all come together to create a complex flavor palate and an ideal blend of textures.
Goat cheese seriously makes any savory dish better. I love goat cheese because it’s a low-lactose cheese, which means it doesn’t cause the stomach upset that other cheese can. Plus, it has such a creamy taste and rich texture yet less fat than other cheeses, so it’s a win-win all around!
The dressing is my current favorite dressing for all salads right now, and it could not be simpler to prepare. You simply whisk together olive oil, whole grain mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, finely minced garlic, salt, and pepper. The whole grain mustard provides a thicker texture than most salad dressings and the apple cider vinegar creates a depth of flavor, in addition to providing immunity-boosting and digestive benefits.
- 1 cup coarsely chopped red cabbage
- 10-12 Brussel sprouts
- 2-3 large carrots
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 oz. goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash your vegetables. Coarsely chop the cabbage, remove the stems and cut the Brussel sprouts in half, and chop the carrots into bite-size pieces. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, paprika, chili powder, and salt. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring partway through for even cooking. The vegetables are done when they are crispy and lightly browned.
- Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, whole grain mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper for the dressing. Toss the spinach with the dressing to evenly coat.
- Top the dressed spinach with the roasted vegetables, goat cheese, and pepitas. Serve warm.
- This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or more for a crowd.
I don’t miss summer produce one bit right now. Bring on the autumn and winter harvest.
Questions of the Day:
Have you started planning your Thanksgiving menu? What are you making?
What’s your favorite type of cheese?
Do you love or hate Brussel sprouts?
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