Winter Chopped Salad

I definitely owe some people an apology on this one.  To my friend Josie, I am so sorry I slept on this recipe.  To all of you, I apologize for not making it and bringing it to you sooner.  To my taste buds, please forgive me.  I had no idea what we were all missing out on.

For years, many of my blogging friends made this time and time again, proclaiming it a family favorite and regular in the recipe rotation.  I had it on my menu plan many a time and managed to find reason after reason to bump it.  What a mistake.  What a giant mistake.

Josie’s original recipe sounded fantastic on its own, but being me, I had to make a few adaptations.  I added pecans and cranberries to the salad for some extra texture, color, and flavor, and put some Dijon mustard in the dressing.  It’s a trick my best friend–AKA the queen of amazing salad dressings–uses to add extra zing and emulsify the dressing.  It’s genius and it really does transform the depth, richness, and consistency of your dressings.  

This salad comes together quite easily, with the bulk of the work coming in from chopping the sprouts and cauliflower.  Once those are in the oven, everything else can be done while they roast.  Just be sure you heat up two baking sheets in case you’ll need them.  And, for goodness sake, don’t be like me.  Be sure you make this.  Soon.  You and your taste buds will be so glad you did.   

winter chopped salad

With all the heavy food winter can bring, you and your family will love this winter chopped salad, packed with nutritious root vegetables, lean chicken, and the most incredible lemon vinaigrette.

Winter Chopped Salad
adapted from Pink Parsley

Ingredients:
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on size
1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 c. olive oil, plus 2 tsp. more
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
zest and juice of one lemon
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
approx. 8 c. preferred salad greens (I used a mix of spinach and spring greens)
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. grated aged Gouda 

Directions:

1.  Place either one or two rimmed baking sheets in the oven and heat oven to 425 F.

2.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, whisk or shake together 1/2 c. olive oil, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. each salt, black pepper, and red pepper.  Toss vegetables in 1/4 c. of the mixture, reserving the rest for the dressing.  Arrange vegetable in a single layer on the heated baking sheet and roast 15 minutes.    

3.  Meanwhile, toss chicken in remaining 2 tsp. olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.  

4.  Remove the vegetables from the oven and toss.  If possible, make space for the chicken.  If necessary, roast the chicken on a separate, heated baking sheet.  Place the chicken and vegetables in the oven and roast 10 minutes.

5.  While the chicken and vegetable roast, make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice and Dijon mustard into the remaining olive oil mixture.  Set aside.  Toast and chop the pecans.

6.  When the vegetable are done, remove from the oven.  Allow the chicken to rest before cutting into bite-sized pieces.

7.  To assemble the salad, divide greens amount four bowls.  Top with equal amounts roasted vegetables, chicken, pecans, cranberries, and cheese.  Drizzle with dressing.  

yield:  4 main course servings

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