10-layer roasted vegetable salad [Vegetarian]

Every single bite of this salad is a new and wonderful flavor combination, depending on what lands on your fork. The delightful mix of roasted vegetables, beans, crispy lettuce, crunchy toasted almonds, smooth avocado and tangy feta cheese -- all combined with a dressing of garlic, honey and spices -- is an incredibly tasty and healthy feast.

There are a few steps to making this salad, but it comes together quickly. Speed it up by making the dressing while the vegetables are roasting. Layer the ingredients in a large bowl, and toss just before serving to keep it looking fresh and beautifully colorful. During summer, you can put the vegetables on the grill instead of roasting them, adding a wonderfully smoky flavor.

You could very easily make this a vegan recipe. Simply leave out the feta cheese, or replace with a vegan cheese. And use agave nectar instead of honey in the dressing. Those two tiny changes are all you need to do to have a vegan meal.

This recipe is adapted from The Fresh & Green Table by Susie Middleton.

Ingredients:
Salad Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil (have at least 1/4 cup ready)
Salt and pepper
2 medium ears of fresh corn, shucked and kernels sliced from the cob
1 red onion, sliced in rings
1 medium zuchini, sliced on an angle
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, halved and sliced in rings
10-15 spears of asparagus
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ripe avocados, diced and sprinkled with lemon juice
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (omit for vegan version)
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon honey (or agave nectar for vegan version)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Roasting the Vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, red onion, bell pepper, and asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment and arrange the vegetables in a single layer. You will need more than one baking sheet or do do this in stages since you will have more vegetables than will fit in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10-15 minutes, turn them over, and roast another 10-15 minutes until browned but still colorful.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Meanwhile, roast the corn on the stovetop. Heat a large nonstick skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat. Add the corn kernels and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes without turning. Let them get thoroughly browned, then stir and cook another 3-4 minutes. Don't stir too much or you won't get that roasted effect.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Make the Dressing:
© Jaymi Heimbuch

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients including a large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until combined -- or put them all into a mason jar, tighten the lid and give it a solid shaking.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Add a couple tablespoons of the dressing to the black beans and set aside to soak.

Layering the Salad:
In a large salad bowl, layer first lettuce, then roasted peppers, corn, onions, zucchini and asparagus. Layer over these the avocado, beans, feta cheese and toasted slivered almonds. Wait to toss until just before serving.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegan | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian