My kids and I try and schedule a cooking night each week. On their night, they prepare dinner with me start to finish, including dessert – which is not only their favorite part, but likely why they agree to the cooking part in the first place 😉 Most days, after they get home from school we open the fridge together and figure out what to make based on what needs to be used up. This salad creation was born from a “leftovers challenge,” but it is no less delicious because of its humble roots. The sweet roasted carrots play so nicely with the cheese crisps, they’re a match made in heaven. Feel free to toss in some nuts for crunch. Walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts would be a great addition.
Caramelized Roasted Carrot Salad with Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 5 large carrots
- juice of ½ orange
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 head lettuce of your choice washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- ½ cup cheese crisps not crackers, if you cannot find cheese crisps use an aged hard cheese, coarsely grated
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic finely grated
- pinch allspice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375. Cut carrots into 2-inch long pieces, halving or quartering lengthwise if large. Place on a roasting sheet or cast iron skillet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast until soft, 30 minutes. Pour the juice and syrup into the roasting pan and stir, then cook 5-10 minutes more until caramelized. Scrape into a bowl and let cool completely.
- For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl or sealable jar and whisk or shake until combined.
- Place lettuce in your salad bowl with the cranberries, crumbled cheese and cooled carrots. Toss with dressing and serve. The salad can be composed, without the dressing, a few hours ahead of serving. Dress immediately before serving.