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Roasted Vegetable and Avocado Salad

Somehow I blinked and we went from making intentions and resolutions to planning for our summer break. We’ve been settling in (still), getting used to our new life in this new emirate, making friends and even cooking for some of them. My in-laws visited us over our spring break a couple of weeks ago and while it was truly amazing to have them here, saying goodbye always takes a toll.

Goodbyes are probably the single most poignant reason that any expat can point to when asked what’s hardest about expat life. It’s not the packing and the traveling, the jet lag or the way nothing is as it is “back home”. It’s goodbyes.

We’re still new here, even though we’ve been in the UAE for 3 years now. This move made everything new again and stirred up old questions that hardly ever seem to fade completely. When will we go back? Go back where? What will we do there? It gets very tiring to live half here and half there. We’d committed to being here, in every thought and new idea while we were setting those intentions a few months ago and it had been great, such a relief, in fact. But, those goodbyes, they’ll get you every time.

I laughed, a little out loud, when I realized that my favorite meal for the past several months has been any combination of this half raw/half cooked salad. (Half here/half there?!) Maybe that’s just how it is sometimes. At least that’s how it is for this salad.

The juxtaposition of the deeply roasted flavors with the cool freshness of the raw ones seem to explode quite delightfully on each of your tastebuds. It could be because the mind is expecting one or the other, but gets both instead. Talk about getting the best of both worlds.

For this particular salad, I used my go-to recipe for the cauliflower; Golden Roasted Cauliflower. (Yes, I should get that recipe on here ASAP since we eat it all the time.) For the carrots I went with a simple olive oil/duck fat combo with sea salt and pepper. Avocado, fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon complete this melange.

Since I have to choose one star for this show, I will choose cauliflower. It’s a cruciferous veg and you know how I love that family. Cruciferous vegetables are most notably known for their anti-cancer properties. Cauliflower in particular has nutrients that support how the body detoxifies, the antioxidants in the body and the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. A chronic imbalance, however low-grade it may be, in any of these systems will wreak havoc on your health.¹ (So will unruly gut flora, but probiotics will be saved for a future post.)

You’ll find Vitamin C and manganese, lovely antioxidants to keep oxidative stress at bay, but cauliflower, like other cruciferous veg have an arsenal of phytonutrients that really work like magic. It’s a realm that is constantly revealing more as more research is being conducted.

While research is done mostly on cruciferous vegetables as a family, studies are linking possible benefits of cauliflower to inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease, IBS, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and more.¹ Cauliflower helps to keep it all in check, deliciously so.

Oh and the turmeric? Jeez. Talk about packing a punch.

Enjoy this salad, as often as possible. All the magic that happens in your body as a result, just let it happen.

Roasted Vegetable and Avocado Salad
Serves 4
You’ll need:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 t ground turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 C chopped rainbow carrots (if you can get them!)

1 T extra virgin olive oil

2 T duck fat

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 avocado, diced

a handful of grape tomatoes, halved (not pictured, but SO good)

2 T parsley, roughly chopped

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

To make:

1. Cauliflower: Place cauliflower on a baking pan and drizzle with oil, salt and turmeric. Roast in oven at 375°F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. (The cauliflower will shrink!)

2. Carrots: Place carrots on another baking pan, drizzle with fats and roast for 30 minutes until cooked but still firm.

3. Cool vegetables and add avocado and tomatoes and top with parsley and a splash of lemon juice when ready to serve.

4. Enjoy!

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