This salad is filled with hearty vegetables that are roasted in oil seasoned with turmeric and cumin, and served tossed through baby spinach leaves. It's a perfect salad for the winter months and it can be served as a complete meal for lunch. Save time by roasting extra vegetables the night before.
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Preheat oven to 190c (fan-forced). Grease an extra large or 2 regular size baking trays.
Add the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix. Add the sweet potato, onion, cauliflower and zucchini, and mix to coat all the vegetables well. Transfer the vegetables to the baking tray and spread out evenly.
Bake for 35 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.
To serve, add the spinach leaves to a large salad bowl or individual bowls. Toss through the roasted vegetables, avocado, nuts and seeds. Squeeze over the lemon juice and garnish with a few extra nuts and seeds.
The olive fruit of the olive tree is pressed and crushed to released the oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are essential for brain function and to transport vitamins and minerals throughout our bodies. This is a delicious oil to drizzled over salads and vegetables.
Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family, the rhizomes are used fresh or boiled then dried in hot ovens after which they are ground into a deep yellow powder. Turmeric is an essential ingredient of Indian curries and gives mustard its yellow colour. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic and is used to treat inflammation and digestive disorders.
Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.
Red onions are sometimes called purple onions and have a mild to sweet flavour. They are normally eaten raw or lightly cooked. Raw they add colour to salads, when lightly cooked some colour is lost. Red onions are packed with quercetin, aside from its antioxidant properties, quercetin has been found to possess cancer fighting, ani-fungal, aniti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables that should be eaten on a regular basis, as it has huge health benefits. One cup of cooked cauliflower provides you with 73% of your DRI of vitamin C, it's also a good source of vitamin K. You will find several dozen studies linking cauliflower to cancer prevention.
A zucchini is also called a courgette or summer squash depending on which country you live in. Zucchini looks similar to a cucumber and is usually served cooked with it's skin left on. Zucchini contains a good amount of folate, potassium, vitamin A,C and fibre.
I use English baby spinach leaves in my recipes. This more modern variety of spinach is more tender than older varieties and has small flat leaves. They can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Spinach is a powerhouse food, it contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Spinach is low in carbs but high in insoluble fibre and may improve eye health, and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
It is often mistaken for a vegetable, the avocado is a fruit. It has a rich buttery flavour and smooth texture. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin C, E and B6, potassium and dietary fibre, also useful amounts of iron magnesium and folate.
Walnut kernels or meat are enclosed in a rounded hard shell. Walnuts not only taste great but are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain several minerals, especially high in manganese, vitamin E and B vitamins. Walnuts are also known for their rare and valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Store walnut kernels in the fridge or freezer, as they are susceptible to insect and fungal mold infestations.
Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavour. An excellent snack as they are high in protein, delicious added to smoothies and grain free baking. Sunflower seeds can be finely ground to replace almond and other nut meals/flours in baked goods, substitute ratio 1:1. They are high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which can help calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels.
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are an amazing health food, a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. They are small packages full of nutrition (plant based omega 3 fats, zinc, anti-inflammatory benefits). Sprinkle over salads, add to snack bars, granola, smoothies and they can also be ground down to add to grain free baked goods.
The lemon is a citrus fruit which makes it high in vitamin C. Lemons have a distinctive sour taste which makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods. The pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking.