Young chef preparing meal with roasted vegetables

Roasted Vegetable Recipe with Avocado Salad Dressing

Published: February 2022

Want to show yourself a little love? This roasted vegetable salad is bursting with flavor and packed full of nutrients such as magnesium that support your heart.

Heart Healthy Roasted Vegetable Salad

Eating healthy is easy—at least in this case. These seasonal vegetables are simply tossed with olive oil, seasoned and oven-roasted. The healthy avocado and citrus dressing comes together in minutes. Chickpeas and pumpkin seeds add plant-based protein and heart-healthy fat to make this a perfect meal to celebrate cardiovascular health during American Heart Health month.

The best vegetables to roast

The best roasted vegetables are starchy and hardy vegetables like potatoes and squashes. The oven browns them and gives them a soft center, which elevates their flavors. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are also delicious roasted. The oven makes them crispy on the edges and not mushy in the middle. Plus, cruciferous vegetables are breast health superstars!

Looking for something else? Any vegetable works in the oven if you adjust cooking time and chop size.

How to roast vegetables

Roasting vegetables is easy! All you need is a sheet pan, a heart-healthy cooking oil and about 30 minutes of time. And these humble salad ingredients are easy to find year-round in most markets.

The ingredient list includes:

Roasted broccoli, peppers and chick peas
Roasted peppers, chick peas & broccoli
  • Yam or sweet potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini or yellow squash
  • Baby bell peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Arugula or baby spinach
  • Orange juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Can I add nuts and seeds to my roasted vegetable salad?

Adding nuts and seeds to a salad is always a great idea. They add protein and healthy fat, which is wonderful for heart health. I use pumpkin seeds because they are a great source of magnesium. But walnuts are also a great addition because they are rich in alpha-linoleic acid, the vegan-friendly omega-3. Both are good for helping you look and feel your best!

What's the best oil for my roasted vegetable salad?

As a chef, I have always favored olive oil for both cooked and raw presentations. I simply enjoy the flavor. Olive oil has a lower smoking point than other oils, but I find that when roasting at 400 degrees, it works perfectly. Avocado oil is my second choice when it comes to cooking, mostly because of the price point. Typically, a good avocado oil is more expensive than a good olive oil. Plus, avocado oil does not have the flavor profile that I enjoy.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetables with Avocado Salad Dressing

Roasted vegetables with avocado salad dressing
Drizzle the avocado on top for the perfect finishing touch

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cooling: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-5 people

Ingredients for dressing:

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 large yam, about 2 cups chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 butternut squash, chopped in cubes
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut in large florets
  • 1 head broccoli, cut in florets
  • 1 zucchini, cut in large pieces
  • 5 baby bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Tbsp. raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Chop vegetables. Yams, which are hearty and take a long time to cook, should be cubed small. Cut butternut squash in larger cubes since they cook faster. Chop cauliflower, broccoli and zucchini, which cook quicker, in larger pieces.
  • On one large sheet pan, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spread to the edges with your hand. Add the yam, butternut squash and cauliflower and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes. Check for doneness and add 5 minutes if necessary. Set aside to cool.
  • On another sheet pan, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spread to the edges with your hand. Add the broccoli, baby bell peppers, zucchini and chickpeas and spread in a single layer. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the dressing with a high-speed blender or food processor. Add ripe avocado, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • Once cooled, add vegetables to a large bowl or platter over a bed of arugula or spinach. Sprinkle with nuts or seeds. Drizzle dressing if serving immediately or keep separate until serving.

How to make the perfect roasted vegetables

For perfect roasted vegetables, the rule of thumb is to cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Use scant oil for a delicious brown char and always preheat the oven.

Cut starchy or hardy vegetables small because they can take a long time to cook if left in large pieces. Chop vegetables like zucchini—which cook quickly—in large pieces. By cutting vegetables this way, you can safely roast different vegetables on the same sheet pan.

How to make healthy avocado dressing

The combination of citrus and ripe avocado makes a healthy and delicious salad dressing. I love the bright pop of fresh flavor from cilantro, but any herb will do. Basil and dill are great substitutes. This dressing is rich and creamy and feels decadent, yet is very good for you and packed with healthy vitamins and minerals.

What are the health benefits of avocados?

Avocados are fruits—berries to be exact. Everyone knows avocados are good for you, but why?

Avocados are the healthy main ingredient of the dressing
Avocado is chock full of heart health benefits
  • They are rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and folate. According to the American Heart Association, research suggests that avocado consumption is associated with heart health. 
  • They are high in heart-healthy fat and contain a compound called beta-sitosterol, both of which help maintain already-healthy cholesterol levels.
  • They help the body better absorb nutrients from food. So pairing avocado with tomatoes or carrots, for instance, can help you get more vitamin A from your meal.  

What's in an avocado?

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 7-ounce (201-gram) avocado, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • Calories: 322
  • Fat: 30 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams

Avocados are also a good source for other vital nutrients:

A plant-based multivitamin is a good supplement
Try a plant-based multivitamin for optimal health
  • Vitamin C: 22% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin E: 28% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 35% of the DV
  • Riboflavin (B2): 20% of the DV
  • Niacin (B3): 22% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 56% of the DV
  • Pyridoxine (B6): 30% of the DV
  • Folate: 41% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 14% of the DV
  • Potassium: 21% of the DV
  • Copper: 42% of the DV
  • Manganese: 12% of the DV

Can you get enough healthy fats from avocados?

Avocados are a good source of omega-3. But like most plants, they have lower levels than many animal-based sources. This makes getting enough fatty acids difficult for vegans and vegetarians.

That is why supplementing a healthy diet is important. Even healthy eaters should take a plant-based multivitamin or Vegetarian DHA supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps left by their diet. I recommend Life Extension's Plant-Based Multivitamin to help you get the full range of health benefits from your vegan or vegetarian diet.

About the Author: Sara Tercero is the chef behind the popular food blog BetterFoodGuru and the author of the cookbook Plant-Based Diet in 30 Days. Her specialties are veganized Indian-inspired curries, giant rainbow salads, and healthier Mediterranean and Mexican-inspired dishes. It is Sara's mission to prove that plants are delicious and to help others cook and eat their way to health and happiness.

Website: https://betterfoodguru.com

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Sara Tercero