Warm Bacon & Winter Vegetable Salad

This is a salad for when you really do not want a salad. It’s decadent, but also full of deep roasted flavor from the vegetables, and smoky meatiness from the bacon.

This recipe is easily made vegan by omitting the bacon.

Why it fuels

  • Did you know Rutabaga is full of vitamin C and magnesium? Magnesium is an important mineral for active people. It can help reduce muscle soreness, improve Calcium and Vitamin D absorption to increase bone strength, and can help regulate glucose.
  • Whole Wheat orzo (or brown rice pasta if gluten-free) is rich in fiber and help you feel full longer.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. rutabaga (about 4 small ones), peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. carrots, scrubbed and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, ends removed and halved
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 slices thick, center cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces (omit for a vegetarian or vegan dish)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat orzo (or brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° while you prep your vegetables. Toss the cut vegetables with the bacon, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and place in a big casserole dish. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables are done when they’re tender and slightly browned or caramelized around the edges.
  2. While the vegetables roast, cook your orzo according to package directions. You’ll want to make sure it stays al dente. After you drain the orzo, rinse it with cold water in a colander to stop it cooking.
  3. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small pot and cook over low heat until it reduces by about half – 10 minutes or so.
  4. When the vegetables are done, discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs and toss the orzo into the casserole dish and stir everything until well-combined and the pasta is slightly coated with the oil from the pan.
  5. Serve and drizzle with some of the balsamic red

Makes 6 servings.

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