Giada De Laurentiis' salty-sweet roasted veggie salad has a spicy secret ingredient

This winter-friendly salad is sure to satisfy — and then some

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published January 8, 2023 3:45PM (EST)

Diada de Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Diada de Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

If you're feeling a type of "new year, new me" or "clean eating" sort of ethos and wondering what to whip up for an easy lunch or weeknight dinner, then you've come to the right place. With the salty, subtle crunch of chunks of crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano and almonds; the chew of dates; the vegetal freshness of roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and the sharp note of Calabrian chile in a bright and punchy dressing, there's a salad that is a real winner.

And it all comes courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. Regularly dispelling sage advice, tips and tricks to her more than 2 million Instagram followers, DiLaurentiis is nothing short of a culinary icon.

One of my teachers as a young buck (via TV osmosis), DiLaurentiis has helped to clarify and laud cooking techniques, ingredients and proper Italian pronunciation for millions. With her culinarily training, decades on Food Network and general knowledge and prowess within the food and restaurant worlds, DiLaurentiis is a prime figure to look to when craving Italian-American flavors, healthful combinations and unique dishes.

Recently, she sharedsupreme salad on Instagram that hits on all these notes. Simply called a "Roasted Broccoli and Brussels Salad," it features warmed, crispy vegetables; cool accouchements like cheese, dates and almonds; and the amazing inclusion of Calabrian chili paste in the dressing. You'll be stunned by the diverse flavors, textures and temperatures of this salad, which truly encapsulates all the best about salads at large. 

While it would be an excellent side or starter, this dish may be best served as a filling, unique salad that is totally vegetarian. (Of course, if you're a real stickler, opt for another cheese that is rennet-free).

The other great thing about this salad is how customizable it can be. Not a Brussels person? Feel free to substitute your other favorite vegetables, but just be sure to prepare them in the same way (shaving the veggies as best as possible). Can't find dates? Reach for another dried fruit, such as apricots or cranberries. Not an almond fan? Any nut should do here. If this dish still feels a little light for you, feel free to toss in some grilled or roasted protein, such as chickenshrimp or tofu.

If you're especially sensitive to heat, omit the Calabrian chili altogether or consider adding a slight pinch of crushed red pepper flakes instead. The latter would allow for a punch brightness that is a bit more subtle than the Calabrian chili in the original recipe. (As Pizzeria Locale notes, they're "between three and 16 times hotter than Jalapeño peppers," so keep that in mind when whisking in the chili paste.)

The Giadzy recipe page also notes that this salad "gets more flavorful after sitting in the fridge overnight," so it would be a perfect dish to prepare the night before you ravenously enjoy it for lunch.

Click here for the (terrific) full recipe — mangia!

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By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Food Giada De Laurentiis Italian Italian American Lunch Recipe Salads Vegetables Vegetarian