This may seem a little strange, but when the weather is hot, the oven can be your best friend. Rather than standing over a hot stove or sweating over a grill pit, you simply throw all your dinner ingredients in the oven and close the door.
That means you can exit stage left somewhere cool (possibly with a cold wine or beer in hand), while the oven does all the work. Genius, right?
This is how I like to cook one of my favourite salads: Summer Roast Vegetable Salad. This is a big, tasty salad full of delicious Mediterranean vegetables, Halloumi cheese and seeds. Drizzled with a plenty of tangy homemade vinaigrette, it is packed with flavour and a real crowd pleaser.
What’s this salad all about?
I’ve been making this salad for years, as it is very popular in my homeland of New Zealand. It’s full of big, bold Mediterranean flavours. Roasted sweet potatoes, (that’s kumara where I come from) and other vegetables are tossed with tangy Cypriot Halloumi cheese and a honey vinegar dressing.
Served with plenty of peppery arugula / rocket, this salad can be a meal by itself or a delicious side to grilled meats. As this is a sturdy salad, it keeps perfectly in the fridge for up to a week, so it is ideal for batching / meal prepping.
- Sweet Potato / Kumara: These roast up beautifully sweet and tender, and along with potatoes make up the base of this salad. Both orange sweet potato and golden NZ kumara taste great.
- Red onions, Red Peppers and Zucchini: This trio of Mediterranean vegetables add gorgeous colour and flavour.
- Halloumi Cheese: The most famous export from the island of Cyprus, this cheese is ideal for frying or baking, and has a delicious, salty chew.
- Pine nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds: For added crunch
- Red wine vinegar, honey and wholegrain mustard: combine to make a sweet, sour and seriously tasty dressing.
How to make Roast Vegetable Salad
This is such a relaxed meal to cook! It’s really all about letting the oven cook the vegetables to roasted perfection. The secret is putting the vegetables in the oven in the right order.
- First, roast the potato, sweet potato and garlic.
- Next, add the softer onion, zucchini and pepper.
- Last, add the Halloumi cheese, nuts and seeds.
- After that, all you need to do is toss the warm vegetables with the honey vinaigrette and a little salad greens and serve!
You can vary the ingredients depending on what you have and what is in season, just remember to put the ingredients in the oven in order from hard to soft.
By this, I mean that potatoes and onions take a lot longer to roast than softer vegetables like zucchini. Don’t stress about it too much though, this is supposed to be relaxed cooking! You could add pumpkin, eggplant, or cherry tomatoes to the mix and they’ll all be super tasty.
If you can’t get hold of Halloumi, crumble over a good quality feta cheese after you take the salad out of the oven instead.
Prepare in advance
This is a great salad for bringing to a picnic or the beach as it won’t wilt or sag. If you are taking it outdoors, keep the rocket separate until serving, then toss it under with a little extra dressing or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
What to serve with Roast Vegetable Salad
While this salad is a meal all by itself, it would be great served alongside some Turkish Chicken Shish Kebabs, a Chicken and Chickpea Pilaf, with a delicious Greek Salad and fresh bread. It is perfect with grilled or barbecued meats too.
Frequently Asked Questions
I can’t get one or more of the vegetables on this list! Can I still make this salad?
Yes! Use whatever is in season. Just remember the golden rule, put the hardest vegetables in the oven first as they take the longest to cook.
How long can I keep Summer Roast Vegetable Salad?
It lasts up to a week in a sealed container in the fridge. It is usually all eaten up by then though!
What can I serve with Summer Roast Vegetable Salad?
This salad is great for serving with a BBQ, with couscous or pasta. Use it to stuff soft white rolls, or you can eat it just by itself!
I like to use a whole rainbow of summer vegetables! Use whatever is fresh and in season for the best flavour.
Remember to start with the hardest vegetables first, as they take longer to cook.
for the salad:
- 1-2 large sweet potatoes (ca. 500g / 1 lb.)
- 500g (1 lb.) new potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 200g (½ lb.) halloumi cheese
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or a mixture
- sea salt and black pepper
for the dressing:
- 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil (eg. sunflower)
- 4 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tsp runny honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- small bunch fresh oregano, leaves only, finely chopped
- 125g rocket / arugula
- small bunch basil
- fresh white bread
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7. Peel the sweet potato and cut into large chunks. Roughly chop the potato and use the flat of a knife to squash the garlic cloves. Toss together in a bowl with the olive oil, then spread across a large baking tray. Season with salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes.
- CHOP VEGETABLES: Meanwhile, halve the onions, then trim the root and tip end. Cut into wedges. Roughly chop the capsicum and zucchini, then toss together with the onion, oregano and chilli flakes in the bowl that had the potatoes in it. No need to add more oil, there will be enough in the bowl.
- ROAST VEGETABLES: Slice the halloumi into 8 even pieces, then cut each piece in half again. After 20 minutes have passed, add the onion, capsicum and zucchini to the roasting tray and top with the halloumi. Scatter over the pine nuts or seeds and roast for a further 20-25 minutes, until the halloumi is lightly golden brown and the vegetables are tender.
- MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: While the vegetables are roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- PLATE AND SERVE: When the vegetables have finished cooking, remove from the oven, pour over half the dressing and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pile the rocket on a large serving platter, add the roasted vegetables and halloumi and toss gently to combine. Pour over the remaining dressing, garnish with fresh basil and season to taste. serve with fresh bread on the side.
Imperial measures are approximate.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 plate
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 814Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 1907mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 11gSugar: 12gProtein: 25g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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