Roast vegetables combined with some kind of grain is an easy way to make a delicious dinner. If you make enough, it works for leftovers the next day, and when you’re rushing off to work or having to pack lunch boxes, that’s a win/win. The thing that sets this salad apart is the roasted garlic salad dressing. For some reason, when you take your first mouthful, it brings back memories of roast vegetable tart, which is weird but wonderful. Roast vegetable tart is one of my favourites, but it is so much more labour intensive to make.
Eating less and less meat, it feels like roasted vegetables have become a staple, featuring in a lot of the food we currently eat. It should all taste the same. But different sauces, dressings and things to go with them, means it doesn’t. While once upon a time, eggplant was hidden in the depths of a casserole, now it’s front and centre and everyone loves it. And that’s the same with most vegetables, even the ones they think they won’t like, they’ll try.
When I cook eggplant, 9 times out of 10 I will fry it. That’s because I like the crunchy bits around the edges and the creamy texture you get from frying. But if you can’t be bothered, just through the eggplant in with the other vegetables and roast it in the oven. I’m a bit the same with sweet potato – roasted whole or in chunks? But that’s another story.
There are no tricks to this simple dish. Bang it in the oven, throw it in a bowl, whip up some dressing and you’re done. And leave out anything you don’t like. But don’t leave out the roasted garlic…that’s the best part. Enjoy!
- 250 grams couscous, cooked according to packet
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1 - 1.5cm cubes
- 1 red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 small sweet potato, cut into about 1.5cm chunks
- 1 small piece of pumpkin (around 350 grams), cut into 1.5cm chunks
- 1 red capsicum, cut into cubes
- 100 grams marinated artichokes, halved
- 1 x 400 gram tin chick peas, drained
- small handful sundried tomatoes, chopped into pieces
- 8 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 4 large garlic cloves, whole with skin left on
- olive oil
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 75 grams feta, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Place the prepared sweet potato, pumpkin. red onion, capsicum, and whole cloves of garlic in a large baking tray. Add a splash of olive oil, sprinkle over some salt, and mix through. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Remove the garlic cloves - you'll need these for the salad dressing.
- While the vegetables are in the oven, cook the eggplant. Place a couple of splashes of olive oil in a large frying pan and heat. Add the eggplant cubes and fry until the eggplant is browned on all sides and goes a creamy texture. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, grab a large salad bowl, add the cooked couscous, roasted vegetables (not the garlic cloves!), eggplant, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, chick peas, olives, and spinach leaves. Gently mix together.
- To make the salad dressing, peel the garlic cloves and squash with a fork. Place them in a bowl or a jar with a lid, add the olive oil, vinegar, a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. Mix together and taste, adjusting the flavour as necessary.
- Pour over the salad and mix through.
- Crumble over the feta, and serve.