If you’ve never had the chance to dine at Malibu Farm, add it to your bucket list. It’s been one of my go-to restaurants for a healthy, delicious meal for as long as I have spent time in California. One of my favorite parts about the menu is that I don’t have a ‘usual’ order. Every time I go, a different menu item catches my eye and I can’t wait until the day that I can say I’ve tried them all. One of my all-time favorites? This vegan chopped salad that’s bursting with color and seasonal flavor. It’s included in Helene Henderson’s new cookbook, Malibu Farm Sunrise to Sunset, and she whipped it up as part of the menu at our Malibu Farm Dinner Party at Helene’s house. Get the other recipes and read the full story here!
Says author/chef Helene Henderson:
“The original cafe menu has barely changed since the opening of the pop-up in September 2013. Those dishes worked. There was never a reason to change the menu, with the exception of one dish: the chop salad.
“The original menu had a classic chop salad with cheese, meat, and garbanzo beans. It was and is a delicious salad, but customers kept trying to modify it with more vegetables, asking for vegetables we did not have available.
“We experimented with several different vegetables and finally settled on squash, which is sweet, and marinated beets, which are acidic, for our perfect combo. And better yet, both are available year-round. The new vegan salad was a winner. However, guests often add grilled chicken, fish, or steak to the ‘vegan’ salad!”
Scroll on for the recipe for this colorful vegan chopped salad…
Reprinted from Malibu Farm Sunrise to Sunset by Helene Henderson. Copyright © 2021 by Helene Henderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Erin Kunkel.
dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian
for the salad:
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 cups chopped fresh black kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa or other grain (optional)
- Classic Chop Dressing (recipe follows)
- 2 cups Cubed Roasted Butternut Squash (below)
- 1 cup Classic Marinated Roasted Beets (below)
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- Watermelon radishes, sliced thin, for garnish (optional)
classic chop dressing: makes 1/2 cup
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1 small shallot, chopped fine (about 1 tablespoon)
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) olive oil, canola oil, or a blend of the two
for the salad:
- In a large bowl, toss the romaine, kale, and quinoa (if using) with the Classic Chop Dressing.
- Then layer the butternut squash, roasted beets, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and radishes (if using) decoratively on top.
classic chop dressing:
Of course you may use the recipe measurements to make your dressing, but my wish is for you to learn to make this time-honored dressing by sight and feel.
Spoon some Dijon mustard into a small bowl. It really does not matter how much, but let’s say 2 heaping tablespoons. Thin it with red wine vinegar until it has the consistency of heavy cream. This is your ratio of mustard to vinegar. Season with salt and add the finely chopped shallot. Now slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. I like my dressing to be roughly 50 percent oil and 50 percent vinegar because I like it highly acidic, but a more traditional ratio would be double (or more) oil to vinegar. It is your dressing, so do it the way that works best for you—add as much oil as you like. The dressing can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge.
Cubed Roasted Butternut Squash
cubed roasted butternut squash: makes about 4 cups (depending on the size of the squash)
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into medium (½-inch) or small (¼-inch) dice—either is fine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- Juice from 1 lemon
cubed roasted butternut squash:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a bowl, toss the chopped squash with the olive oil. Spread the squash cubes out on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until they are just soft and a little browned but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Season with salt, and drizzle with the agave and lemon juice.
Classic Marinated Roasted Beets:
- 4 medium-size beets, any color, skin on
- 1?3 cup olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Dash of sugar
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ shallot, chopped fine
- A few tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, or chives
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the beets in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle them with a few tablespoons of the olive oil and a dash of water, and cover the dish with foil. Roast the beets in the oven until they are just soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size.
- Allow the beets to cool, and then peel the skin off the beets by rubbing a paper towel over them or by rubbing them under running water. Chop them into a fine dice or slice them into whatever desired shapes. Place the beets in a small bowl and season them with salt and a tiny dash of sugar, and drizzle with the remaining oil. Add the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, herbs, and garlic, and toss. Marinate for 30 minutes before using. The marinated beets will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
The butternut squash and the beets can both be made several days in advance.
Roasted sweet potatoes or carrots instead of squash? Of course! Black beans, lentils, quinoa instead of garbanzo beans? Yes, yes. Pickled jicama instead of beets? Go for it. Color this salad your favorite vegetable way.
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