Roasted Carrot Salad

Well, I’m going to be straight with you right now. When the ball dropped and the New Year arrived, I was one of those people. Yes, one of the many who woke up on New Year’s Day, opened the refrigerator, and gazed upon the entirety on my next two days’ meals lined up in neat, multicolored rows of bottled, organic, detox juice. I abandoned my beloved jammy toast for a bottle of liquid celery and romaine lettuce. Mmmmm…breakfast.

So, was it worth it?

I’m not quite sure actually. I didn’t really wake up at the end up it all feeling like I had a glowing sparkly aura around my body. Perhaps I had a little more energy but I also had a nasty cold at the time so that marred the results a bit. I think that the greatest benefit was gaining awareness of so much mindless snacking. While detoxing, I would walk through the kitchen and make the motion to grab a handful of cereal or stick my finger into the peanut butter jar a spoonful of peanut butter before stopping myself in the act of sheer bad habit.

Also, post-detox, I eased myself back onto solid foods and stuck to mostly vegetables, fruits, ancient grains, and nuts before adding gluten, meat, and cow dairy. And it was with this stage of the process that I gained the most realization…I really missed vegetables. A lot. Working at a restaurant for 8 months, I was on a steady diet of bread and more bread with minimal green foods. At college, I used to have so much fun making up these funky, unique salads of sorts with fresh market product and it all kind of stopped in that “newly graduated” stage of life. So maybe it was something in the juice, but all the sudden I found myself pulling a new salad-y recipe from a long-neglected portion of my brain and came up with a dish that really did make me feel all sparkly and cleansed like I had hoped.

This one takes a slight nod from a roasted beet and crunchy radish salad I had at Arbutus Restaurant in London. Instead, I brought in the earthy sweetness from roasted rainbow carrots and offset it with the slight pepperiness and crispness of red cabbage. The strage part is that I roasted the cabbage. I’ve never done this before – it was kind of a spur of the moment decision – but it resulted in something that was completely unexpected and delightful. Who new that roasting ribbons of cabbage makes for a mixture that is simultaneously tender and sweet but also savory and chip-like? Trust me, you’ll be fighting others off to get the crunchy burnt pieces. The sprinkle of pistachios and goat cheese adds yet another contrasting dimension of sweet, salty, and tangy and the vinaigrette just ties it all together.

So, if the juice detox was the cause of the creation of this salad, I suppose I can say it was worth it. Otherwise, eh, I’m not totally convinced; my general consensus is that I just had two days where I peed a whole lot more than normal and had a flatter stomach for about 24 hours. I mean, sure it was nice to rid myself of accumulated crap at the beginning of the year but I think for the rest of the year, I’ll stick to plain and simple veg and tasty salads, thank you very much.

Roasted Carrot Salad for One
5-6 rainbow carrots, washed and halved lengthwise
¼ head of red cabbage, core removed and cut into ¼ inch ribbons
1 Tbs. olive oil
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbs. roasted salted pistachios
goat cheese
salt and pepper
champagne vinaigrette

(I don’t have an exact recipe but find that the best vinaigrette is 3 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar, and a small amount of Dijon mustard, honey or any other sweetener that you like, salt, and pepper, to taste. Whisk to combine.)

Preheat the oven on 450 degrees. Toss the carrots with ½ Tbs of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and lay them evenly on a baking sheet. In a bowl, toss the cabbage with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper, and use your hands to coat all of the cabbage evenly with the oil. Set aside. Place in the baking sheet with the carrots in the oven for ten minutes. Remove and add the cabbage to the same pan along with the carrots. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes, occasionally flipping the carrots and stirring the cabbage until both are crisp tender.

Arrange the cabbage and carrots on a plate. Sprinkle the pistachios and as much goat cheese as you desire overtop. Finish with a drizzle of your vinaigrette.