*Click here for our entire interview with Gaby and her husband Thomas on life, love, and the perfect burrito.

Why is it that some people have an almost magical ability to make the humblest ingredients — a handful of lettuce, some roasted mushrooms, a simple vinaigrette quickly combined in the blender — taste next-level amazing? I’ve spent enough time around chefs to know that the magic usually lies in the details.

Using freshly ground spices and lots of fresh herbs; knowing how to balance the acidity and richness of a dish; using peak of season produce… and usually more olive oil than the average home cook.

But I think it’s also an inherent gift possessed by the best home cooks, one that comes from combining years of practice in the kitchen with a deep love of good food.

When I visited Gaby Dalkin at home in LA last month, she and her husband, Thomas, whipped up a Southwestern roasted vegetable salad that could have been basic, but upon first bite, was anything but. I could not stop going back for just one more bite, and I’ve recreated it no less that four times since I’ve been back in Austin. Proof that Gaby’s genius extends to translating her incredible cooking skills for the rest of us with recipes that taste every bit as special when I make them at home for myself.

This salad is actually hearty enough to be a main course meal, with protein from the pinto beans and grains, yummy fat from the avocado, and lots of hearty roasted vegetables that are deeply satisfying even when the temps are chilly. But it’s the cilantro vinaigrette that really takes this salad over the top: I’ve been making a big jar of it to reuse throughout the week on grain bowls or drizzled on top of fish or roasted sweet potatoes, and it majorly elevates anything it touches.

I’m so excited to share our full interview with Gaby and Thomas next week (!!) so come back to check it out. For now, dig into this salad and get ready to discover your new winter favorite.

Scroll on for the recipe below…

Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad with Crispy Quinoa

Serves 3-4

Gaby's Southwestern Roasted Vegetable Salad with Crispy Quinoa

By Camille Styles


For the Crispy Quinoa:

  • ¼ cup cooked grains (quinoa, farro, kamut)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 4-5 heads baby lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium lime juiced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 2 cups sliced delicata squash
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Cilantro Vinaigrette:

  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves stems removed (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


For the Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, toss together the veggies, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika (or your favorite spice blend). Once coated, evenly distribute the vegetables on the baking sheet.
  3. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes until they are fork tender.

For the Crispy Grain:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the cooked grain and toast for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.
  2. Remove and set aside to cool.

For the Salad:

  1. Toss the greens, olive oil, lime juice and salt in a large bowl and then add piles of the avocados, grain, black beans, cotija (optional) and roasted vegetables.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and serve alongside the cilantro vinaigrette.

For the Cilantro Vinaigrette:

  1. Combine everything in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  1. 1
    ET | February 20, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Should the grains be cooked beforehand? The recipe calls for uncooked, but the instructions call for cooked grains. Thanks

  2. 2
    JoJo | February 20, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Were pinto beans or black beans used? The recipe called for pinto beans but the directions said black beans. Thank you!!

  3. 3
    Lynn | June 15, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Also wondering about pinto or black beans and hoe to season them. Thank you.

    • Camille Styles | June 16, 2020 at 6:54 am

      Either of these would totally work – I would rinse and drain them, and then toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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Kristen Kilpatrick