We’re in this weird in-between season, aren’t we? Winter won’t relinquish its stranglehold. Days are longer and sunny, but brisk and cold.
If you’re like me, you’re ready to ditch the heavier style of eating we adopt during the winter months in favor of dishes that are a little brighter and lighter. And yet … fresh local produce isn’t yet abundant. And we’re certainly not at a point where we can compose salads with fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil (much as we might long for those tastes!).
Here’s a simple salad that seems right for this middling season: Colorful roasted vegetables and a flavorful tahini dressing. I’m liking the idea of making salads that aren’t built on a bed of lettuce. This one just really hits the spot right now.
roasted carrot and red bell pepper salad
6 slender (about 1/2-inch diameter at the top) carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. toasted pistachios
handful of baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
Preheat broiler. Place the whole carrots in the basket of a steamer over boiling water, and steam for 5 minutes. Remove the carrots and halve them lengthwise. Place the carrots, cut side down, and the bell pepper slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with cumin and kosher salt. Broil the vegetables for 5 or 6 minutes, until they begin to brown. Remove and let cool slightly.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and water; season with salt to taste.
To serve, arrange the roasted vegetables on a platter or individual plates. Scatter a few baby spinach leaves around the vegetables. Drizzle with tahini dressing and sprinkle with toasted pistachios.