Welcome to episode two of our new Make the Best of It! video series, which celebrates our favorite restaurants, shops, bars and more. Today we're chatting with chef Mike Schoening of Leaf & Lentil, a small all-vegan café that opened in Sarasota last summer. Via Zoom, Schoening explains what goes into the restaurant's popular "Everything Salad," and offers some tips on how to make it your own. Find the full recipe below the video.

The Leaf & Lentil Everything Salad

Home cooks can easily swap out the ingredients below based on what is available or what they like. A mix of greens, for example, makes a great base to this salad, but you don't have to use everything we list. For the roasted vegetables, we use zucchini and squash, but broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables would also be great. Also, we use chickpeas, but black beans, white beans or any other beans would work just as well. Don't like peanuts or sunflower seeds? Substitute chopped almonds or walnuts.

Salad Ingredients

Arugula leaves
Spinach leaves
Kale, chopped
Red cabbage, chopped
Carrots, julienned
Cucumber, cubed
Tomatoes, chopped
Roasted sunflower seeds
Roasted peanuts (can be chopped, if desired)

Roasted Vegetable Ingredients

Zucchini, chopped
Squash, chopped
1 Tbsp. neutral oil like canola, sunflower or safflower
1 tsp. dried thyme
Pinch of salt

Golden Turmeric Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 oz. apple cider vinegar
2 oz. rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1½ cup neutral oil like canola, sunflower or safflower

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly toss the zucchini and squash with a tablespoon of neutral oil, thyme and salt. Roast in a baking pan for about 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Vegetables should be a bit crisp still. Allow vegetables to cool. (Can be made ahead of time.)

2. To make dressing, mix all dressing ingredients together in a clean jar. Dressing may be stored in the refrigerator for about two weeks. If you prefer a smoother dressing, you can use a food processor, but it is not required.

3. In a large bowl, mix all the raw salad ingredients except the seeds and nuts. Add the roasted vegetables. Lightly toss salad ingredients together. Heavier ingredients should fall to the bottom so you can plate the greens first and then add other vegetables and beans on top. Top with seeds and nuts at the end.

4. Shake vinaigrette well. Dress salad with desired amount of vinaigrette, about 2-3 Tbsp. per serving.

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