Want to wow your friends and family this new year? Looking for something that will stand out from the heavy holiday food? This Build Your Own Roasted Vegetable Salad is perfect for colder months when you crave something light but still want wintery comfort food. Roasting vegetables will add an extra layer of flavor, while the Sundried Tomato dressing adds a tangy finish. This salad bar is a perfect addition for any occasion and is a great option for larger crowds who are ready to start the new year on a lighter note.
So many options and easy to prepare
I have done catering for many years and trust me when I say that most people love the build your own options, especially when it comes to salad. When done right, salad bars look beautiful, will have something for everyone and are the easiest to prepare. You can make everything the day before so you can focus on other things that need attention the day of. Here is a list of ingredients I used and don’t worry if you are unable to get all of them. Think color, what is in season and variety.
- Red onion
- Grape tomatoes
- Green Beans
- Tri-colored carrots
- Red seedless grapes
- Mushrooms (marinated raw)
- Butternut squash
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette- recipe below
- Spring mix
- Chopped bacon
- Toasted sunflower seeds
- Dried cranberries
Prep your ingredients
Clean and chop your vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss in olive oil or canola oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. For every cup of vegetables, just add 1/2 teaspoon oil so that they are not oversaturated.
When roasting vegetables, I prefer to set my oven a litter higher at 400 degrees. Be careful not to overcook your vegetables. Keep a close eye on the vegetable’s color, you want to remove them from the oven before their color starts to dull. A higher temp will help carmelize the vegetables faster without dulling the color as fast. I prefer to use the top rack on the oven when roasting vegetables also.
Tips when making the vinaigrette
Avoid buying dried tomatoes that are in oil because it will affect the flavor of the vinaigrette recipe. I like to rehydrate the tomatoes in room temperature water for about 30 minutes before blending. This recipe requires either a food processor, blender or an electric hand blender.
Putting it all together
When setting up your Build your Own Roasted Vegetable Salad Bar (or any salad bar), keep in mind that you want it to look nice and clean but also be user-friendly. Check around your house before rushing out to buy a bunch of decorations and containers because you might already have exactly what you need. I used storage baskets, my own salad bowls, and random decorative containers I had sitting around. To create this look, here are some ideas to consider…
- Have a variety of textures such as metal, wood, and cloth
- Display food on a variety of different levels
- Make sure your lettuce is placed somewhere in the middle or side of the display close to the bowls
- Add a little seasonal touch with a festive ribbon or small decorations in the negative spaces
- Use more neutral tones. You want your vegetables to be the pops of color, not your supplies
Build Your Own Roasted Vegetable Salad Bar
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: About 10 servings 1x
- 4 cups tri colored peeled baby carrots- cut in half
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 4 cups red seedless grapes
- 4 parsnips- peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
- 3 cups green beans- stems trimmed, left whole or cut in half
- 2 medium red onions- julienne slice
- 3 cups. broccoli florets
- 3 cups butternut squash- 3/4 inch dice
- Canola or your choice oil
- Salt and Pepper
Other salad toppings
- 2–5oz bags of spring mix or your favorite lettuce
- 1 ½ cup blue cheese crumbles, feta or goat cheese
- 2 cups cooked bacon-chopped
- 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ cup dried tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ¼ cup water
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 cups button mushrooms quartered
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Pinch of pepper
1. Clean and cut mushrooms, combine with ingredients listed above. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate for 1 hour, stir every 15 minutes to make sure vinegar soaks in evenly.
2. Cook bacon off on baking sheet in 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until desired crispiness. Place on paper towel while hot to soak up the fat. Set aside to cool.
3. Clean and quarter mushrooms then combine with oil, vinegar, oregano and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate for 1 hour, stir every 15 minutes to make sure vinegar is soaked in evenly. Taste before adding any salt.
4. Clean and prep all vegetables per instructions above. Keeping all the types of vegetables separate, lightly coat with oil and season with just a small amount of salt and pepper. Do not saturate vegetables in oil, a rule of thumb is 1 tsp of oil to 1 cup vegetables.
5. Roast vegetables in 400-degree conventional oven for 8-12 minutes depending on the vegetable. You are looking for bright color and good caramelization. Once vegetables are done set aside to cool.
6. While vegetables are cooking, rough chop bacon. If bacon still has more fat then you desire, place the bacon on another dry paper towel and microwave for just a few seconds just to reheat fat from its solid state. This should do the trick and your bacon bits will be extra crunchy.
7. For the dressing, soak the dried tomatoes in water for about 30 minutes. Remove from water and combine with the vinegar and garlic into a food processor, blender or hand blender. Slowly add oil then water until you reach desired consistency. Be sure to taste and adjust your seasonings if needed.
This recipe can be made a day ahead and dressing will keep for up to a week.