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Roasted Vegetable Salad

Darlene Schrijver

This Mediterranean-style vegetable salad is sensational served warm or cold any time of the year. Turn on the oven and break out your parchment paper, baking sheets, cutting board, and a good knife (don’t forget the fun music for dancing around the kitchen) and it comes together in no time. I like to cut the eggplant in small cubes and roast them with the skin on so the salad has body and doesn’t turn into a dip similar to baba ghanoush.

The sweetness from the roasted tomatoes and onions paired with the simple dressing of roasted puréed garlic, oil, parsley, and lemon juice creates a classic Mediterranean combination. No matter how you serve it, this roasted vegetable salad is always a hit.

1. Start out: Prepare the roasted garlic purée for the dressing (see below) up to 3 days ahead of time (or stick it in the oven while you make the roasted vegetables). Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and use convection mode if that’s an option. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. On one baking sheet, combine the eggplant, 3 tablespoons of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon of the granulated sea salt and toss. On the other, combine the grape tomatoes, halved peppers, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and remaining ¼ teaspoon granulated sea salt. Wrap the onions in aluminum foil.

3. Put the baking sheets in the oven and the onions directly on a rack. Roast the eggplant, stirring or flipping halfway through, until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes (longer for a regular oven). Roast the tomatoes and peppers until they start to blister and brown on top, 15 to 20 minutes (longer for a regular oven), and the onions until they soften and begin to look translucent, 20 to 25 minutes (longer for a regular oven). Gently lift the parchment with the vegetables off the baking sheets to cool, being careful to reserve the tomato juices. Once cool, peel the onions and chop the peppers and onions into ½-inch (1.3-centimeter) cubes.

4. Whisk: In a large salad bowl, whisk together the roasted garlic purée, oil, lemon juice, parsley, flaky sea salt, and red pepper flakes until emulsified.

5. Toss: In the bowl with the dressing, add all the roasted vegetables, including the tomato juices. Toss until all the ingredients are evenly combined and coated with dressing. Top with crumbled feta and serve warm or cold. (It will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days but is best freshly prepared.)

6. Enjoy: I’m having it with a Syrah or Turkish coffee.

To make the Roasted Garlic Purée:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and use convection mode if that’s an option.

2. Cut about ½ inch (1.3 centimeters) off the top of the garlic bulbs to remove the tips and discard. Drizzle the tops with the oil and wrap the whole bulbs in aluminum foil. Roast until the outer skin turns golden and slightly translucent (and your house smells like a pizza parlor), 30 to 45 minutes (longer for a regular oven). Place on the counter to cool in the foil, then squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves from bottom to top. Use the side of a chef’s knife to thinly spread the cloves along a cutting board to smash, then finely chop to make sure there are no long fibers left. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Excerpted from The Salad Lab. Copyright © 2024, Darlene Schrijver. Photography copyright © 2023 by Erin Kunkel. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, LLC. All rights reserved.