Whenever I roast vegetables for dinner, which is often this time of year, I make as many sheet pans’ worth as will fit in my oven to ensure plenty of leftovers to use throughout the week. The vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, you name it – are easily reheated as a side for another dinner or spun, warm or at room temperature, into meals such as an egg-topped hash, a hummus plate or a vegetable bowl like this one.
This recipe highlights one combination of flavors that works beautifully together, but it is really just a template, with lots of room to play. At its heart is a contrasting trio of golden, caramelized roasted cauliflower, crisp Romaine lettuce and fresh tomatoes. But any roasted vegetable, or a medley of them, would work here, as would any fresh lettuce or tender leafy green, from red leaf lettuce to arugula or spinach.
Grape tomatoes add a juicy sweetness to the mix and are available with good quality most of the year, but chunks of fresh apple, pear or grapes would hit a similar note. Canned chickpeas add the hearty texture and protein that makes this bowl a satisfying meal, but feel free to swap in any type of bean.
I also tossed in pearl-sized balls of mozzarella (which completely enchant me), but regular mozzarella cut into chunks or any soft cheese, chopped or crumbled, would work instead. To make this bowl vegan, omit the cheese. And, because I happened to have it on hand, I turned to parsley for a grassy herbal note, but any tender herb would work well.
Tossed in a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, and seasoned with za’atar (or any dried herb-based mix you like), it’s a feast of color and texture. Whatever variations you select, you’re in for a nutrient-packed and satisfying meal, which will make you look forward to leftover roasted vegetables again and again.
Vegetable Bowls With Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Za’atar
5 cups (about 1 pound) 1-inch wide cauliflower florets
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon table or fine sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon za’atar, or 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme, toasted sesame seeds and finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
One (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, small pearl-size or a larger ball cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Place the cauliflower on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, then toss to coat it evenly.
Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and browned in spots, tossing it once or twice as it cooks. Let cool slightly or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until needed (let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before using).
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the za’atar and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the lettuce, chickpeas, mozzarella, tomatoes, parsley and the dressing. Divide among 4 bowls and serve.
Storage notes: The roasted cauliflower can be refrigerated for up to 4 days
Where to buy: Za’atar can be found at Middle Eastern markets, spice shops and online.
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