Colourful, nutritious and most importantly of all, damn tasty! I’m sure that you’ll love this sweet potato, cauliflower and broccoli salad with basil pesto and sunflower seeds.
This salad can be eaten on its own, and is a great vegetarian dish, but I think it’s really an ideal side. It actually came about recently when we had to go to a friend’s place for a barbeque and was asked to bring a salad. I wanted to do something a little different than the usual potato salad or garden salad type thing, not that there’s anything wrong with those! Potato salad is one of my all time favourites! I think I was planning on doing this Israeli couscous Greek salad but we didn’t have all the ingredients at home. I was meaning to go to the supermarket to pickup the ingredients but time got away from me. Either that or I was just plain lazy? Anyway, I had a quick look around the kitchen. Sweet potato… cauliflower… broccoli… how about some kind of roasted vegetable salad? What am going to make for a dressing?… there’s some of that yummy basil pesto in the refrigerator! How about some toasted almonds to go on top?… bummer, don’t have any of those… but I’ve got some sunflower seeds!
So like with many kitchen creations, this is how this one was born, off the cuff. And the result is pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I like to roast all of the three vegetables separately, on separate trays that is, so you can get each one just right. The cooking times in this recipe are just a guideline really, the time it will take to roast each vegetable will depend on the size they are cut and the vegetables themselves. So the best piece of advice I can give is to just keep an eye on them. Be sure to let the vegies cool down before mixing up the salad. This will prevent them from continuing to cook and slightly stewing together, which can occur if you mix them straight away. I also prefer to mix the pesto into these types of salads with my hands rather than a utensil. Using your fingers you can be more delicate and prevent breaking up the florets and mashing the sweet potato.
So next time you’re asked to bring along a salad to that barbeque or picnic, or just need to whip up a side for dinner at home, why not give this sweet potato, cauliflower and broccoli salad with basil pesto and sunflower seeds a go?
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into little florets
- ½ cauliflower, cut into little florets
- salt & pepper
- ½ cup basil pesto
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- Heat oven to 400 (200C) and line 3 rectangular baking or cookie tarys with parchment paper. Spread the sweet potato out over one tray, the cauliflower out over another and the broccoli over the other. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the trays into the oven together if your oven space allows or cook in batches. Cook for around 15 minutes until just cooked, removing the trays from the oven and giving each vegetable a quick stir around half way through. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place the sunflower seeds in frypan or skillet and dry roast over a medium heat for a few minutes whilst gently shaking the pan, until they have browned up nicely.
- Once the vegetables have cooled place them in a large mixing bowl and gently mix through the basil pesto taking care not to mash the vegetables together. Check the seasoning and adjust if required.
- Transfer to serving bowl or dish and sprinkle over the toasted sunflower seeds.