winter harvest salad + roasted garlic & thyme cashew cream dressing {vegan}

Happy new years! Welcome to 2017, can you believe it? I feel like I say that every time a new year comes around "can you believe it, its already a new year?", it just really does seem like they always "pop" up on us doesn't it? But this specific new year, this one feels needed, it feels like it came at exactly the right time. 

The latter end of my 2016 wasn't so great, its a long story and not something to get into right now but I just had to keep stepping one foot in front of the other and I am jumping into 2017 with both feet. I am hoping to move forward from worry, anxiety and stressful situations and open my heart back up through small slow deep breaths. Every situation we are thrown into in life is for a reason and I have heard from many people that "what doesn't kill you only make you stronger" so I am holding onto that one tightly.

I don't make resolutions I stopped putting the pressure of resolutions on myself after my Dad passed away. I decided at that moment to just live as happy as I could as often as I could without holding "resolutions" against myself, without putting pressure on myself. I just let go one day and damn it felt good. I have kept that mentality up over the past 5 years, that doesn't mean that I don't have goals or dreams and wishes or things I am going to be striving for. There are, I have a lot of hopes for 2017, hopes that I am going to be striving to turn into more than just hopes.

My main goals are to grow this space, I have not monetized my blog yet but so this year I would like to change that. Mainly because I want to give you guys more, I want to give you as much as I can and to do so would mean I need another income (other than my current stable job) to devote all of my time and energy into this space. The space that makes my heart happy, my soul happy, my mind happy. I would like that to include photography & styling workshops, online courses, recipe books, maybe even an online shop. I told you lots of hopes, but I am going to take them one step at a time and maybe only one or two of those will come out by the end of the year but at least I am headed into the direction where maybe I can make this space my entire job one day because that, that is my ultimate dream. 

Honestly it feels good to just write that out here, kinda have you guys to hold me accountable. Keep me in check, making sure I am dotting my i's and crossing my t's. When I started this hear blog I had no idea it would end up meaning so much to me and I definitely didn't think that maybe one day it could possibly be my full time job but I really do see that on the horizon, its crazy but I do. 

I feel like this salad starts the new year off right. It is hearty yet light, filled with lots of flavour and its healthy, which tends to be a new year thing, right?! The cashew cream dressing is the star though, the combination of roasted garlic and thyme with the creamy cashews is really divine. 

I have been using the dressing as a dip and making it at least once a week for the past few months. I usually roast up the veggies that are in this salad along with some chicken or turkey sausages and dip away. Literally I dip everything, roasted carrots, roasted beets, roasted sweet potato, charred brussel sprouts, tender steak, seared chicken, everything I tell ya. It would actually be a great dip to serve with raw veggies as well, maybe your next platter party?

I like to get the veggies for this salad really browned and a little blackened. So I keep them in the oven a little longer than most. They almost get caramelized the longer you leave them in (as long as you don't leave them to the point of burning, but a little blackened is pretty tasty). 

If you want to keep the salad completely vegan omit the bacon you definitely don't need it for the salad to be tasty. If you wanted to add a protein you could add crispy tofu or even some chickpeas, or keep the bacon in. Maybe a nice sliced steak or even some roasted chicken on top, those are great options as well. Versatile, I tell you this salad is versatile. You could also use all sorts of veggies I have added roasted parsnips and brussel sprouts before, even some roasted red peppers would be really good too. 

The pomegranates and red onion give the salad a nice fresh note and really lift all of the other flavours out. An extra squeeze of lemon just before serving is a nice touch as well. You can either serve this harvest salad as a main or a side dish. It is hearty enough for the full meal and light enough to accompany something else. 

winter harvest salad + roasted garlic & thyme cashew cream dressing {vegan}

salad ingredients

1 cup farro

1 bunch of carrots

1 large red beet

2 small golden beets

1 large sweet potato

4 stalks of kale (de-stemmed)

6 slices of bacon (optional)

1/2 red onion diced

1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds 

cashew cream dressing

1 cup soaked cashews

1 whole head of roasted garlic

1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil

juice of one lemon

large handful fresh thyme sprigs (1/4 cup)

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste


preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


place the cashew in a small bowl and cover with water. soak for at least 4 hours. alternatively cover them with boiling water and soak for at least an hour. 

in a medium pot add one cup of farro and 3 cups of water. bring to a boil, then cover and turn to simmer for 30 minutes (or until cooked). drain and set aside.

cut the top of the garlic down about 1/4 inch drizzle with olive oil and wrap with tin foil. 

cut the beets in half, quarter and then thinly slice. cut the carrots in half length wise and cube the sweet potato. toss all of the vegetable in olive oil, salt and pepper. line them evenly on parchment lined baking sheets. 

place the veggies and head of garlic in the oven for 40-45 minutes. the veggies might cook at different stages, take them out once they are a little crispy and nice and golden brown. so take them out as they cook and cover with tin foil until they are all done. the carrots take the longest to get to the crispy caramelized golden stage. I like to have them even a little blackened, adds lots of flavour.

take the head of garlic out of the oven at 40 minutes (this is for the dressing).

if adding the bacon, chop into small cubes and add to a large pan on low to medium heat. cook until done and slightly crispy. once the bacon is cooked remove it and toss it with the farro, in the same pan add in the de-stemmed kale and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until it brightens and is slightly cooked. 


drain the cashews and add them to a food processor with all of the other ingredients, including the roasted garlic (the best way to get the garlic out of its skin after roasting is squeezing, all those lovely pieces of garlic should just pop right out) . blend until it is completely smooth and creamy. you can add more olive oil until you get the consistency you like for the salad.

this dressing will make more than you need for this salad but it will keep in the fridge for about a week and also makes for a great roasted veggie dip (roast the same veggies as in the salad and dip away).

once the veggies have roasted toss them with the drained farro, add in the bacon, pumpkin seeds. diced red onion, pomegranate seeds and then toss with about 3/4 cup of the dressing or more to your liking. serve


to keep the salad completely vegan omit the bacon. you could also use roasted chicken instead of bacon, thinly sliced steak or even crispy tofu.