The rich, dynamic color palette of summer fruits and vegetables is always inspiring! While the culinary landscape of winter dishes tend to be monochromatic (yet super rich and flavorful), nothing can compete with the contrast of hues that we find ourselves in now. What I love personally about this time of year is that you really don’t have to do too much preparation or handling of fresh, quality ingredients to make a really fantastic dish. Fresh summer greens, perfectly roasted root vegetables boasting their caramelized sugars, and a pop of acid blend harmoniously in this seasonal stunner.
This meal is one that can be made quickly and you can feel free to top it with whatever you like to top a salad. We prepared some arborio rice and then crisped it up on a pan with some pistachio oil and topped it with fresh blackberries, an avocado, plus some pumpkin seeds, chopped pistachios, and flaky sea salt for a little crunch. The bright flavors of the vinaigrette that you’ll make on your own would also pair fantastically with goat or sheep cheese. Regardless of what you have, take time to add these ingredients to your next shopping trip and celebrate summer greens and the fantastic summer produce season we’re in.
For the Salad
- Spring Mix or other seasonal lettuce
- 1 qt blackberries
- 1 bunch of beets (red or golden) – cleaned, peeled, and diced into bite-sized pieces
- 2-3 carrots – cleaned, peeled, and diced into bite sized pieces
- 1-2 large sweet potatoes – cleaned, peeled, and cut into ½ inch discs Note: preparing the sweet potatoes this way will keep them from drying out while roasting. When you are ready to serve them in the salad, cut them into bite sized pieces and you’ll have crisp outsides and smooth custard like insides adding a great dynamic to the salad.
- 1 avocado
- 1 c. prepared rice or grain medley, optional
For the Vinaigrette
- ¼ c. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice, zest optional
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp. grated ginger
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a small bowl, toss diced beets in just enough olive oil to coat. Lay them out on ⅓ of a large baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat for the carrots and sweet potatoes. Keeping the three vegetables separate on the baking sheet will allow you to take one off easily if a particular vegetable cooks faster than the other. Otherwise, you’ll have to root through the entire baking sheet piece by piece.
- Place the sheet pan of prepared root vegetables into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Sweet potatoes will cook faster, so check them after 20 minutes. Once you remove the sweet potatoes, feel free to spread out the remaining carrots and beets, gently tossing them around to increase caramelization.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups of blackberries, honey, ginger, lime juice and zest if using, and olive oil into a blender or immersion blender base. Purée until it reaches a smooth consistency. It will be a beautiful velvety purple color. Pour into a serving vessel through a fine mesh strainer to gather any remaining blackberry seeds or pulp. Place in the refrigerator or leave out at room temperature until ready to serve.
- Serve in a large shallow bowl or platter. Fill with summer greens, scatter the roasted vegetables across the top, add in the diced avocado, fresh blackberries, and any other seasonal/textural garnishes that you will be using. Serve family style. Drizzle with the vinaigrette just before plating and place the reserve to the side for those who wish to have more dressing with their serving. Enjoy!