Winter Root Vegetable and Pear Salad with Salmon

The cauliflower and root vegetables in this recipe are perfect for a warming winter salad. They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components and are delicious and hearty when lightly roasted.

I love a soup or casserole in winter as much as the next person, but it is possible to be healthy too, and this salad does the job nicely. It’s packed with anti-inflammatory goodness from the root vegetables and salmon, and there’s a winter warming hit of earthy cumin to keep the chill at bay.

The dish is quick and easy to make. Most of the ingredients go straight into the oven to roast, and the rest are tossed together in a bowl until they come out glistening and delicious. The whole thing only takes just over half an hour to make.

Natural sweetness comes from roasting the squash and pears. This is an ideal counterpoint to the bitter char on the roasted vegetables and makes you forget the cold.

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is terrific for inflammation sufferers and adds a rich succulence to the dish. However, if you prefer the salad only, it works well without the salmon too. If salmon is out of your budget, a good alternative is ocean trout. It has the same pink color and health benefits of salmon without the premium price tag. Other potential substitutes for salmon include mackerel, striped bass and arctic char.

Added nutrients also come from brown rice, which helps to make the salad quite satisfyingly filling. Brown rice is the whole grain version of white rice, which means it retains all the nutrients present in the natural product. This also means it is digested slower than white rice, which reduces the frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation.

The herbs add a notable freshness and brighten up the colors. Cumin also bumps up the flavor without adding any sodium, so that less salt can be used.

Edamame beans are great because they are a whole soy food, which provides isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer. If you can’t find them at your grocer, frozen peas or green beans would work. Just blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes until soft enough to crunch through.

I have used high-quality extra virgin olive oil rather than a processed oil. You could also use other natural oils, but I like the flavor of olive oil for this salad.

Enjoy this salad fresh. If you find you can’t finish it all in one go, keep the dressing and herbs separate from the rest of the ingredients. They can be stored in resealable containers in the refrigerator and then tossed together for a light lunch or snack at a later date.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small butternut squash, pumpkin or winter squashes
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1 pear
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup edamame beans, green peas or green beans
  • Handful of chia seeds
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Parsley sprig
  • Mint sprig
  • Dill sprig
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the turnips and squash, and peel and core the pears. Cut into finger sized chunks.
  3. Break the cauliflower down into similar-sized florets.
  4. Roast the vegetable in the oven until they are just soft, about 30 minutes. (Keep checking because this will depend on the quality and freshness of the vegetables.)
  5. Rinse the rice in cold water and then place in a pan of boiling water until soft, around 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, chop the herbs roughly and toast and grind the cumin seeds finely (or use ground cumin).
  7. Squeeze the lemon into a bowl and add the oil and vinegar. Season lightly with salt and black pepper and mix until emulsified.
  8. Once the vegetables are ready, set them aside to cool. Set a pan on medium heat with a little olive oil and add the salmon fillet.
  9. Season both sides of the fish and cook with the skin side down. Once you can see the flesh changing color, about 5 minutes, turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Remove it from the pan and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
  10. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the rice, herbs, beans, cumin and dressing. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the chia seeds and serve with the salmon on top.

SERVES: 

Total time: 45 minutes Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes

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