I love roasted vegetables. Especially in the winter. Roasting just brings out such great intensity of flavor and gives you such a feeling of comfort at the same time. So I always look to create some delicious, comforting salads with them.
Here, tomatoes and mushrooms take center stage. Sweet balsamic roasted tomatoes and rich earthy roasted mushrooms are tossed with some fresh diced shallots, peppery arugula and some crunchy bacon roasted chickpeas. Finish it with a sprinkling of salty crumbled feta and drizzle it with some simple aged balsamic vinegar. Even better when served atop a toasted slice of your favorite crusty bread!
While these bright Roma tomatoes aren’t necessarily the best salad tomatoes, they are perfect for cooking. AND ROASTING! Their thick, dense meaty flesh breaks down to an intensely sweet, luscious, little bite of heaven. And did I mention they are a good source of antioxidants as well as Vitamins C & A?
Mushrooms are a vegetable that I seldom eat raw. They seem rather bland to me that way. But again, sautéing or roasting really helps to intensify their flavor. Mushrooms are low in calories and a great source of B vitamins and minerals. My favorite are these baby Portobellos. I love serving this salad with baby arugula. It’s peppery kick is perfect complement to the sweet and savory tomato and mushroom combo.
This soft, warm salad definitely needs a crunchy component. And it is so worth it to make a batch of these Bacon, Chive & Garlic Chickpeas. A great source of protein and fiber, the chickpeas add a hearty element and some great salty, smoky flavor to this special winter salad.
Since olive oil is used in the roasting of the vegetables, this salad really only needs a drizzle of rich, sweet, aged balsamic vinegar to finish it off. Some salty, crumbled feta lends a creamy texture and a tangy bite!
Oh these roasted tomatoes, though! While they seem to shrivel up to nothing, they are definitely the predominant flavor in this salad. And serving this salad over toasted bread feels like you are eating a deconstructed Panzanella of sorts. Plus the bread will soak up the delicious oils, juices and that luscious balsamic drizzle.
Once the tomatoes and mushrooms are roasted, this salad comes together in a very loose and flexible way. Here’s how to MAKE IT YOUR OWN:
- I think this would be equally delicious and kind of cute if you roasted cherry tomatoes instead of the roma.
- My favorite mushroom is Portobello. But use any kind you’d like. White mushrooms, enoki, shiitake, chanterelles are great. Or how about a mix?
- I chose arugula for it’s peppery flavor and hearty texture. But use your favorite green. Spinach makes sense. Or even grilled romaine!
- Any roasted chickpea would taste great. You could even toss some with your favorite seasonings and roast them in a separate pan with the tomatoes. White beans would be a great addition to this salad, too.
- Make this a true Panzanella by adding some croutons. Try these Big Soft Chewy Butter Garlic Croutons.
- Blue cheese, goat cheese or parmesan cheese can take the place of feta.
- The tomatoes, roasted in oil make this a really juicy salad. Not much dressing is needed. But a nice Balsamic Vinaigrette would work, too.
- 12 Roma tomatoes, cut in half vertically, seeds removed
- 20 ounces of sliced Portobello mushrooms
- 4 cups of arugula
- 1 shallot, diced
- 6 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- a few grinds of cracked pepper
- 1 Recipe of Bacon, Chive & Garlic Chickpeas (recipe on this blog)
- 4 slices of toasted Italian or French bread
- ½ cup (roughly) of crumbled feta
- aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the cut, deseeded tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet cut side up.
- Evenly sprinkle the tomatoes with 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, the minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of brown sugar, salt & pepper
- Bake for an hour until the tomatoes are shriveled and take on some charring along the edges.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Increase the oven to 400 degrees F
- Toss the mushrooms with 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through until the mushrooms are golden.
- To serve:
- Toast the bread and place one slice on each serving dish.
- Top with tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with diced shallots.
- Top with arugula and chickpeas.
- Sprinkle with feta to your liking.
- Drizzle everything with a little olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar to your liking.
All of my salads and dressings are just a starting place for your imagination. So feel free to add or swap ingredients and do what works for you!