Change-of-Seasons Salad

 In Cooking, Garden-to-table, Healthy eating, Urban homesteading

Necessity may be the mother of invention but nothing motivates me to get creative in the kitchen like homegrown produce without a purpose. And yesterday provided me with plenty of motivation as it was the day that I needed to clear out my raised beds of the few remaining weedy/seedy/tiny-but-still-viable veggies in preparation for spring planting.

This is the week that all of the beds will be amended with compost and the soil gently loosened before our anticipated rains–all in preparation for the tender-rooted seedlings that will call these beds home for the summer. I {heart} spring.

And so it was that I found myself with an odd collection of vegetables and a few lemons.

COS salad 4

The bundle of tiny yellow flowers in the center are from my kale plants that went to seed during the past two unseasonably warm weeks. They are also a result of one of my most cherished horticultural practices: gardening by neglect. They are a sweet, pretty, and subtly kale-y addition to this salad.

The purple sweet potatoes were harvested earlier in the season and have been wrapped in newspaper, curing in my basement, while patiently waiting to be pressed into service. I grew them using another of my time-honored horticultural practices: stick it in the ground and see what happens. Which is precisely what I said and did after a store-bought, organic sweet potato started to sprout leaves from one end. I cut off the sprouty bit and stuck it in the ground. At light speed, it took over an entire bed and covered the surrounding ground. It produced nearly 30 pounds of tasty tubers after months of utter neglect. Refer to horticulture practice #1 above.

The tiny heirloom rutabagas were from a few seeds I scattered before another big rain last year. The ground where they grew was a little hard and, therefore, the appear to have grown more in length than width. Since they were still wee and tender, I didn’t bother peeling them. If yours are larger, you may need to remove their outer skin.

I cubed the veggies and roasted them alongside the halved lemons and unpeeled garlic I needed for the dressing.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Roasted to perfection

Roasted to perfection








The end result of all the roasting and mixing and tossing:

COS salad 8

  • The veggies, that I roasted at high heat, were creamy and sweet on inside while being browned and crispy on the outside.
  • The lemons and garlic, once roasted both mellowed in flavor, resulting in a bright, creamy, lightly sweet dressing.
  • The completed salad was an interesting blend of flavors, colors, and textures. You know, everything a good salad should be!

Try it with your own mix of roasted root vegetables and let me know how your combo turns out!

Change-of-Seasons Salad




30 minutes


30 minutes


Roasted Lemon & Garlic Dressing

  • 2 Meyer lemons, cut in half
  • 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 T white balsamic or other mild vinegar
  • 1/4 c plain, whole milk yogurt
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste


  • 2 – 3 small purple sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into cubes
  • 3 – 4 baby rutabagas (or one medium peeled), cut into cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
  • A few squeezes of lemon juice
  • Kale flowers or other edible flowers


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush a bit of olive oil of the cut halves of the lemons. Place them face down on a small parchment-lined baking sheet. Line another small baking sheet with parchment paper and add the cubed vegetables on top. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place both sheet pans in a center rack in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the vegetables once about halfway through.

Remove from the oven when the veggies are golden brown on the outside and can be easily pierced with a fork and the lemons are soft and beginning to brown at the edges.

Carefully remove the peels from the garlic cloves and place them in a small bowl, discarding the peels. Add a pinch of salt. Then, using a fork, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. Once the lemons are cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice and pulp into a the bowl with the garlic. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and continue whisking. Taste and adjust.

Add the torn kale to a large bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Massage the kale until it softens and turns a bright, emerald green. Divide onto two plates. Top each plate with half the roasted veggies. Top with dressing, flowers and serve!


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Showing 2 comments
  • Dianne M Saichek

    I am a sweet potato lover and often make recipes that require 5 or more per recipe. I’m curious about your technique of wrapping them in newspaper. I buy them, sometimes 15 at a time, and just stick ’em in the basement. Should I be ‘curing’ them in newspaper? I usually use them within 3 – 4 weeks of purchase and just scrub off the little buds that form. And yes, the next time I make sweet potatoes with orange bitters I’ll either drop some by or invite you over!!

    • Stacey Clinesmith

      DiSai, From what I’ve been told, the curing needs to happen right after they come out of the ground so the sweet potatoes that you are getting at the store/farmers market have already been through a curing period. Sounds like your method of storing and using is A-OK! Yes, please, to the offer of an invitation to share some of yours with orange bitters! I’ll trade you for a few of my basement dwellers!

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