Total Time 35'PT35M
Our roasted root vegetable salad is served warm and makes the most of comforting winter roots like beetroot and parsnip.
A celebration of roots
There’s a certain harmony between the cooling weather and the emergence of root vegetables in our meals. Unlike their leafy green counterparts, root vegetables are solid, stodgy and deeply comforting.
They hold up well in a slow-cooked stew, retaining a firm texture without disintegrating, and add colour and flavour to our warming soups.
As it turns out, we’ve been eating root veg longer than many of us ever suspected. In 2020, a research team discovered evidence that humans had been roasting and eating root vegetables for at least 170,000 years.(1)
Why have we loved them so fiercely, and for so long? Perhaps because, like loyal friends, they stuck around during the cold winter months when the other less hardy crops had vanished. Or perhaps because they’re stuffed full of starchy carbohydrates, needed for energy, and healthy vitamins and minerals.
In either case, it was probably easier for our ancestors to get their hands on them than hunt for wild game. While that may no longer be the case, we still rely heavily on root veg for sustenance even in the modern day.
It’s likely that our ancestors were simply pleased to have found something to fill their bellies when they unearthed an appetising root or tuber. However, nowadays we know a bit more about the makeup of these vegetables.
Some people believe that root vegetables are less nutritious than brightly-coloured berries or russet-coloured apples. This might be because we’re used to associating the bright colours of fruit with foods that are good for us. Yet, while their colours may be muted in comparison, root vegetables provide plenty of wholesome nutrition.
Take the parsnip, for example. 100g of parsnips provides you with starchy carbohydrates, fibre, nearly 20% of your daily targets for vitamins C and K, and around 10% of your vitamin E. On top of this, it contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium and is extremely low in fat.(2)
Meanwhile, 100g of carrots supplies you with 93% of your daily vitamin A target, with smaller amounts of vitamins C, E and K. It’ll also give you 10% of your daily fibre requirement, along with minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc.(3)
No wonder they were a favourite of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Experimenting with colours and flavours
Our long love affair with root vegetables has led us to selectively breed new varieties, resulting in a whole host of exciting colours and flavours to use in your salad.
If you have a health food store nearby, or (even better) a local farm where you can stock up on your fruit and veg, try looking for different varieties. Of course, the best possible option is if you are green-fingered enough to grow them in your garden!
Golden beetroot has a sweeter flavour than its ruby counterparts, while white varieties are sweeter still. Perhaps the most beautiful of all is the Chioggia cultivar, which looks like a candy-striped peppermint on the inside!
For carrots, try looking for different colours. It’s a fact that never fails to surprise us that the dominant cultivar of carrots was actually purple, not orange.
All that changed in the 17th century, when Dutch farmers began to cultivate orange carrots to celebrate William of Orange, hero of the Dutch fight for independence.(4)
While orange carrots may be the most common today, there are still places where you can pick up purple, white or yellow carrots. The purple variety is often sweeter than the orange.
Creating the chia and mustard dressing
All that starchy sweetness demands a dressing with a bit of punch to it. Naturally, we turned to mustard to supply the goods. English mustard would be an interesting flavour to try, but we prefer the mild tanginess of French dijon.
Mixed with lemon juice, it cuts through the stodge of the vegetables to create a nicely balanced dish.
While you could create this dressing with olive oil, we love to use our Organic Chia Seed Oil for the occasion. After all, this recipe is all about celebrating under-appreciated vegetables; why not celebrate an under-appreciated oil at the same time?
Our chia oil is made by cold-pressing organic chia seeds. The resulting oil is rich in omega-3, needed for heart and brain health, and skin-loving vitamin E. It has a distinctive flavour and fragrance which works very well in combination with the mustard and lemon.
When you’re not using it to dress your salads, chia oil is also a brilliant addition to your skincare routine. We recommend applying a small amount after washing and moisturising your skin to help it hydrated.
You can also apply it to your hair as a nourishing mask; we’ve found this adds softness and shine. Just apply a small amount and leave it on for about 30 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as normal.
In short, it’s a great natural and organic addition to your diet and beauty routine!
Time to serve up
Our roasted root vegetable salad is a hearty lunch or dinner on its own and is packed full of good stuff. If you are especially hungry, or feeding a crowd, try serving with chunks of warm artisan bread and a little more chia oil or butter on the side.Salads and sides