This colorful and hearty fall harvest salad with maple vinaigrette is full of fiber and nutrients from wild rice, roasted carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes and onions. It’s a healthy and satisfying seasonal side dish. Plus, it’s vegetarian, gluten free and nut free!
I just returned from over a week in Europe. First, I was in Berlin for the Berlin Marathon, which was a blast. I ended up beating my previous marathon PR by 25 minutes and breaking 3 hours, which felt great. Though it didn’t feel all that great at the moment, I have to admit.
Of course, there’s no better way to recover from 26.2 miles than with some delicious food. And I certainly did not hold back! After Berlin, we traveled to Dresden and then to Prague.
In each city, we found amazing restaurants. The core cuisine in much of Eastern Europe can be quite meat-heavy. However, more and more restaurants are offering vegetarian and vegan options. In fact, Prague is one of the best cities for vegan options in Europe!
Side note: if you happen to find yourself in Berlin with a hankering for fantastic vegetarian food, head to Cookies Cream (yes, they forgot the & and yes it’s annoying, but forgivable when you taste their eggplant).
Anyway, back home after days of eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I’m all about eating in and eating salads. As much as I love trying new foods and restaurants, it can get tiresome after a while.
Now that I’m back in my own kitchen, I’m focused on lighter options to rebound from all the delicious pastries and bread. Plus, fall weather has officially descended here in Boston.
This veggie-packed harvest salad with roasted veggies, wild rice and a spicy maple vinaigrette is all that I want. It makes a delicious and filling vegetarian lunch, dinner or side dish.
This healthy salad is filling, thanks to hearty wild rice. It’s full of sweet and salty flavors thanks to roasted sweet potatoes, onions, radishes and carrots. And it’s bright and colorful! This fall harvest salad is the perfect comforting dish to welcome autumn. In fact, it’s the new seasonal treatment of our favorite summer vegetable salad.
How to Roast Fall Veggies
This salad gets its brightness from a slew of the best fall veggies. We roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions and radishes. They add tons of fun color to your plate. Not to mention serious nutritional benefits.
When you’re making a dish like this harvest salad with roasted veggies, timing is key. The fall vegetables don’t all cook at the same time. However, with two baking sheets, you can streamline things.
I like to use a pretty hot oven to roast my veggies. First of all, it cooks things quickly. And secondly, it helps parts of the veggies crisp up a little more. I love the textural difference between soft and crispy veggies.
How to slice the veggies for roasting
While your oven is preheated, slice up your veggies. It’s important to slice them to equal sizes. This way, they’ll cook evenly. And, they’ll be easier to eat in the finished harvest salad.
I recommend slicing your carrots into 1/2 inch rounds. Cut them at an angle (called a “bias” cut) for a little more interesting take than a boring coin. Cut your sweet potato into wedges of a similar thickness.
For the Brussels sprouts, I love when the outer leaves get all nice and crispy in the oven. To encourage this, trim the ends off your sprouts. Then peel off as many large outer leaves as you can. Finally, half the remaining cores. Add the outer leaves and cores to the baking sheet. You’ll end up with a wonderful mix of crispy and tender Brussels.
Quarter your radishes. They cook pretty quickly and will shrink up a fair bit in the oven. You don’t want to end up with little tiny radish pieces in your salad!
And finally, slice the onions nice and thin. That way, they’ll melt beautifully and get some caramelization to color your fall harvest salad.
Roasting your veggies for even cooking
Next, get out a couple of baking sheets. And if you’re looking for the best baking sheets, I strongly recommend Nordicware brand. They last forever and are so useful. If you like, you can line your sheet pan with parchment paper, though it’s not necessary.
Next, add your sliced carrots and sweet potatoes to one sheet. Add the Brussels, radishes and onions to the other. The heartier root veggies will take a bit longer to cook, about 25 minutes. The Brussels sprout mixture will take about 20. Be sure to give everything a stir with a spatula about halfway through cooking.
How to make a simple maple vinaigrette to dress a harvest salad
While the colorful vegetables add their own earthy flavor to this harvest salad, the real zest and zing comes from our spicy maple vinaigrette. We took the classic vinaigrette recipe up a notch for this fall salad.
We started with the classic dressing foundation. Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. But to complement the autumn flavors from the sweet potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts, we brought in some maple syrup. It adds just a touch of sweetness that coats the rice and vegetables beautifully.
We also wanted to add a bit of a kick to this harvest salad with roasted vegetables to keep things interesting. We used minced fresh jalapeño. It adds just a bit of spice with delicious freshness that you can’t get from dried pepper flakes, for example.
Topping the harvest salad: crunch & herbs
After dressing and gently mixing the cooked wild rice, roasted vegetables and maple vinaigrette dressing, it’s time to garnish and serve your harvest salad. We quickly toasted some pumpkin seeds. It only takes 3 to 4 minutes and adds a nutty, toasty flavor to the salad. Not to mention crunch and an extra plant-based protein boost!
And last but not least, we added a few leaves of fresh sage and cilantro for garnish. If you like, you can fry up the sage in a bit of vegan butter for a tasty herbal chip on top of your harvest salad with roasted vegetables.
More delicious ways to eat roasted vegetables
While your oven is on, why not try some of these favorite ways to eat more roasted veggies?
- Roasted Carrots, Apples and Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Tahini Dressing
- Creamy Vegan Roasted Tomato Soup
- Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta with Caramelized Onions
- Roasted Beet, Citrus and Lentil Salad
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This colorful and hearty harvest salad is full of fiber and nutrients from wild rice, roasted carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes and onions. It’s a healthy and satisfying seasonal side dish.
- 1 ½ cups wild rice, cooked according to package directions
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 3 carrots, sliced into ½ inch rounds on the bias
- 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into ½ inch half moons
- 1 small sweet onion, sliced into ½ inch slices
- 1 bunch of radishes, quartered (about 8 radishes)
- 7–8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2–3 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped, optional
- Fresh sage, optional*
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ jalapeño, deseeded and minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- Few cracks of black pepper to taste, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425F. In a saucepan, combine the rice, vegan butter and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Let the rice stand, covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Add the carrots and sweet potato to one baking sheet with 1½ tbsp olive oil and one or two generous pinches of salt. Add the onions, radishes and Brussels sprouts to a second baking sheet with 1½ tbsp olive oil and another pinch of salt. Toss all of the veggies to coat evenly.
- Roast all of the vegetables until fork-tender, stirring halfway through. The carrots and sweet potatoes will take about 25 minutes. The onions, radishes, and Brussels sprouts will take about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon, vinegar, jalapeño, garlic, ½ tsp salt and pepper.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. They may pop, that’s normal. Toast until the seeds start to brown, 3-4 minutes. Then remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
- To assemble the salad, combine the cooked rice, roasted veggies and dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine well. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro.
*For a delightful garnish, fry your sage leaves in vegan butter until just beginning to brown. They turn into delicious edible herb chips.