Hello Fall Salad


Tacotown was in my sights. I could smash some avocado on a couple of corn tortillas, put the broccoli and sweet potatoes on top, pour on some salsa verde, and call it dinner. Or not.


I had a jar of vinaigrette in the fridge I’d made a couple of days before. I also had pine nuts and currants.


For goodness’ sake, it wouldn’t kill me to not have a taco, I said to myself.


This tossed together at the last minute salad was just as speedy. It also felt slightly fall-ish — and appropriate, since the thermostat only climbed to 84 degrees that day. Fall in Texas is what summer is like in most parts of the world, I told my mother as she was pulling out of the Central Market parking lot, her SUV pointed north, towards Denton. She just laughed and drove off, waving as she did so.


So roast some broccoli. Do the same with your sweet potatoes. And instead of going straight to the tacos default button, make a salad. There’s always tomorrow.


Hello Fall Salad

Makes 2 to 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 broccoli crowns, florets removed
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup currants
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • a big handful arugula


  1. Make the vinaigrette and set aside. (You may also make this a day or two in advance and keep in the refrigerator.) Whisk together the first five ingredients. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk until the vinaigrette comes together. Taste and adjust for seasonings.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.


  1. Toss the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. Remove fro the pan into a bowl.


  1. Same thing with the broccoli florets. Toss them on the baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and slide into the oven to roast. The broccoli will take a bit less time, so watch it more carefully, turning once so both sides brown.


  1. Chop the avocado into 1-inch chunks and add to a large salad bowl.


  1. Add the sweet potatoes and broccoli, pine nuts, currants, red pepper flakes and arugula to the bowl. Add some of the vinaigrette, toss and taste for seasonings. Eat.