I sat looking out my studio window watching the robins gobble the last remaining red berries from my yard, wondering why I placed a Peanut Blossom, such a sunny cookie,  in a decidedly cool background. But watching the last speck of red in my yard disappear down the gullet of one happy robin, it dawned on me: it’s the color of winter.

And when I visit the market in the winter, both the farmers outdoor markets and my local co-op, doing my best to support our local farmers by passing by the bright red hydroponic tomatoes from North of the border, and the bright green scallions from South of the Border, what remains is a very muted winter palette of color. There are the root vegetables such as  carrots, potatoes,  parsnips  and beets. These earthy colors are punctuated here and there by onions, squash, and apples.

But what I was really dreaming about in the middle of continual gray, was a nice bright salad. That left me one choice. Construct a salad with all the colors that winter has to offer, and brighten the taste with a vinaigrette. Its ‘The Colors Of Winter Salad’!

The Colors Of Winter Salad

Use any root vegetable that appeals to you. In this salad I used red, russet, and purple potatoes; golden beets; parsnips; onions; carrots; and squash. I also used apples in the dressing and as a finish to the salad for added crunch!

Roasting veggies: use the veggies of your choice,  just cut them all approximately the same size for even roasting.

Preheat oven to 400°

1 lb.  each purple, russet, and red potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces.
1 1/2 lb. carrots  scrubbed, cut into 1″ pieces on the diagonal
1 1/2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. beets, whole (I used golden beets to avoid staining the other veggies)
1 small onion, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 lb.  hard winter squash (Butternut, Delicata, Danish etc.) peeled and cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh Rosemary coarsely chopped.

Toss all ingredients, in a medium bowl.

Place all ingredients, except beets, in a half or baking sheet, and roast until barely fork tender, 20-30 min.

Wrap whole beets separately in foil, and roast approx 40-50 min.

To assemble:

1  large apple, large diced skin on
Apple dressing: recipe follows ( uses an additional 1/2 apple)
Crumbled gorgonzola as garnish optional.

Cut cooled, peeled beets into 1″ pieces.

Toss all veggies  and diced apple in a medium bowl.

Add dressing to taste: I like this ‘lightly’ dressed, adding about 2 tablespoons.

Serve at room temp.

Apple Dressing:

Makes 1 cup.

You won’t use all of this in the salad, but it’s so good you will use up in no time!

2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons grated shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped apple ( approx 1/2 medium apple)

Pulse a few times in cuisinart or with immersion blender.

Stores for 5 days in fridge.