If you’re in the mood for a side dish that’s a little different from your usual, look no further: this Oven Roasted Asparagus and Bell Pepper Salad definitely fits the bill.
It’s like a super fantastic salad, loaded with all kinds of delicious veggies, except it’s served warm. And you will not believe the amount of flavor that emanates from such a simple little dish. It’s sweet, tangy, vinegary, smokey and even a tad peppery… and talk about a medley of textures, too! You get a tad of crunchy, a hint of creamy, some crispiness and even a little bit of softness in every bite.
In fact, I brought this to what should’ve been an early Christmas dinner at my mom’s last week, and the general consensus was that this salad would make a fantastic guest appearance as part of an antipasto platter.
Honestly, I totally agree with that. I can just imagine how good it would get along with marinated artichokes, all kinds of varieties of stuffed olives, deliciously thin slices of dry salami… THE DREAM! But I also think that it would be perfect served alongside just about anything, any time of year or any time of day.
Yeah… I think I liked it A LOT, and something tells me that you will, too!
Care to make some? It won’t take much time at all, promise…
As always when the use of the oven is required, the first thing you want to do is preheat it. This time, you’ll want to turn the knob all the way up to 425F.
While the temperature is climbing, trim about an inch off the bottom of your asparagus, just to make sure you get rid of all the dry, tough bits. Once that’s been taken care of, cut them into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on their actual length. You want your pieces to be approximately 3” long.
Next, cut the cute mini sweet bell peppers in half and remove their stems and seeds, then slice the red onion fairly thinly.
Now grab a glass jar or small mixing bowl and add some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, lemon zest, capers and fresh herbs to it, then mix well with a flat whisk until slightly emulsified.
You’re not looking for perfectly smooth and silky here… this needs not be perfect, so long as everything gets blended in.
Place all your vegetables in a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet and pour about 3/4 of the vinaigrette over them, then stir well with your fingers to distribute the vinaigrette as fairly as possible between all the veggies.
You wouldn’t want them to start arguing about who got the most…
There… I’d say that’s pretty even. There doesn’t seem to be any visible signs of turmoil in that pan.
Throw the vegetables in the oven and roast them for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are slightly softened and start to brown a little, then set the oven to broil and let the vegetables caramelize for 5-6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and pour the rest of the vinaigrette over the vegetables; add the chopped walnuts and stir well once again.
You can serve this salad immediately or let it cool down to room temperature.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days but will need to be slightly reheated before to be eaten, as the olive oil will set when chilled, rendering it not very palatable.
Besides, all of the flavors seem to burst into life as if by magic as soon as this salad gets warmed up a little.
Try it, you’ll see!