Roasted fennel and kabocha vegetable salad in balsamic mustard vinaigrette recipe

This is a potluck recipe request from an auntie that I love dearly.

Roasted fennel and kabocha vegetable salad in balsamic mustard vinaigrette recipe by Melody Fury

The salad’s colours really pop!

Potluck is a funny thing because it’s essentially playing food roulette. What ends up on the table is just luck of the draw. On a fortunate day, your friends will pulled out the big guns so you can sample their signature dishes. Otherwise, you’re stuck eating stale fried chicken or worse, microwaved canned corn (true story) after you’ve spent hours slaving over your own thoughtful dish.

Roasted onions and fennel for roasted vegetable salad recipe by Melody Fury

Fennel and onions getting toasty

When creating a potluck dish, I stick by these few rules:

  • easy preparation
  • retains texture and flavour when reheated/ chilled/ left at room temperature
  • colourful and relatively attractive
  • flavour gets better over time
  • cheap to make in large quantities
  • not fussy to transport
  • free of allergy-prone ingredients

This hearty roasted vegetable salad satisfies all of my criteria. On the morning of, I simply cut, roast, and dress up the vegetables. They retain their texture and becomes tastier as they marinate in the dressing. I serve this salad at room temperature and my guests always go back for seconds. The best part that I can substitute the vegetables with whatever is in seasonal.

My other go-to recipes include: curry, shepherd’s pie, homemade pita chips and mango salsa, quinoa salad, mini quiches, polenta.

The no-go list: pasta salads that become dry and grainy over time, jello desserts, take-out of any form, and weepy salads (especially Caesar with soggy croutons).

Discussion: What’s your favourite potluck recipe?

roasted kabocha for roasted vegetable salad recipe by Melody Fury

Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) is healthy and substantial. Remember to leave the skin on for extra roasty flavour and textural interest.

Roasted fennel and kabocha vegetable salad in balsamic mustard vinaigrette

Time-saving hint: place the vegetables that take longer to cook (i.e. kabocha, followed by fennel and onion) into the preheated oven first while you prepare the softer vegetables (i.e. zucchini and peppers, herbs).



  • 1 small kabocha pumpkin, cleaned and cubed
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 small zucchinis, in chunks
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped finely


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

roasted peppers for roasted vegetable salad recipe by Melody Fury

I was lazy and sliced the peppers before roasting. Go all out if you have time.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C)
  2. Place vegetables on baking sheets according to length of cooking time. I combine the onion and fennel, and the zucchini and peppers because they take the same amount of time to roast. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown. Toss them part way through the roasting to achieve even doneness. Approximate cooking time – Kabocha: 20 minutes. Onion and fennel: 15 minutes. Zucchini and peppers: 10 minutes.
  4. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients by shaking in a jar or with a blender.
  5. Remove vegetables and toss with vinaigrette when still warm. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves a small crowd.

Roasted fennel and kabocha vegetable salad in balsamic mustard vinaigrette recipe by Melody Fury

Tada! Dressed to impress.

  1. February 07, 2011 by Nicolb

    Feed me please.

  2. February 07, 2011 by tanuki86

    I assume the parsley is added as a garnish at the end and is not roasted with the other vegetables? or maybe it is?

  3. February 07, 2011 by Melody Fury

    @tanuki – very good eye! The parsley is tossed in at the end, although I assume it’d add a depth of flavour if roasted with the other veg, given that it doesn’t burn. Thanks for your comment!

  4. February 07, 2011 by Bonita

    I’ve had a kabocha squash sitting on the side for the last few weeks as I pondered what to do with it. This is its calling. Thanks for sharing Mel!

  5. February 07, 2011 by Dean G

    Absolutely love your blog and tweets!

  6. February 09, 2011 by pigpigscorner

    Very colourful and looks so delicious! I tend to make desserts for potluck. Simple and you don’t have to worry about reheating =)

  7. February 11, 2011 by kellypea

    Gorgeous dish with lots of wonderful ingredients! I’ve never tried kabocha before, so another to add to my list. Haven’t had a potluck in years — maybe I’m just a control freak. My group of dinner friends all agree to cook a particular type of cuisine — like Moroccan — and everyone chooses a course. It’s a lot of fun!

  8. February 11, 2011 by A Canadian Foodie

    You bet that salad is dressed to impressed! It has SUPER impressed me. How novel and how brilliant. Serving roasted veggies with a dressing, cold as a salad. DAH! And I would have never thought of it and they would be TO-DIE-FOR delicious. I love the colours and the flavours you have put in your dish. You’ve got me!
    I will be back!

  9. February 11, 2011 by A Canadian Foodie

    You do not have a subscribe by mail feature – will you upload one for me? If you are on wordpress – I use subscribe 2. If not, Feedburner works great for others.

  10. February 11, 2011 by Carolyn Jung

    I love kabocha in any way, shape or form. I usually just roast it and put a little butter and maple syrup glaze on at the end. I’ve also steamed it with fish sauce, chilies and cilantro. But balsamic mustard sounds like a flavor combo that I’ve just got to try next.

  11. February 12, 2011 by Monet

    What a stunning salad! I can see why it was favorite. I love making mini quiches too (as well as bread!) Thank you for sharing such a great family recipe with me. I hope you have a weekend of love and relaxation. We all need it, I think!

  12. February 12, 2011 by Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I can always use another recipe that has fennel, one of my favorite veggies at the moment. I agree with you on all the requirements for potluck dishes. I think my favorite things to bring are couscous or orzo salads, they get better with time and are perfect at room temperature.

  13. February 12, 2011 by Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food

    What sensible recommendations you’ve offered here on what constitutes a good potluck dinner dish. Such occasions always leave me scratching my head and feeling more stressed than hosting a formal sit-down dinner party at my own home. Pot luck or not, though, I simply adore this salad and its delicious combination of healthy ingredients. Gorgeous!

  14. February 13, 2011 by Joyti

    Your aunt’s salad looks really lovely – so colorful and bright and delicious.

  15. February 13, 2011 by polwig

    If you ever have any left overs I will give you my address. Personally I really do not do pot luck stuff much, if I do it is usually something major like Chili or Lasagna.

  16. February 21, 2011 by Teresa

    I’ve been bookmarking your recipes..another one to add! LOL If only I actually make the time to cook and not just eat cereal for dinner :p

  17. February 23, 2011 by Angie's Recipes

    wow I simply love how beautiful, healthy and tasty this salad look! Irresistible!

  18. February 23, 2011 by Sally - My Custard Pie

    I’ve got friends coming round tonight but I’m working all day so I’m cooking something very similar to this. Love your combination of flavours here.

  19. February 24, 2011 by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy

    Hey Melody,
    Thanks for dropping by.You have a gorgeous blog.Just a random scroll and I already found few recipes to try :)
    This salad is so colorful.I love colorful food.It makes eating so interesting.Thanks for sharing.

  20. February 25, 2011 by Reeni

    What a delicious salad! Packed with flavors I love! I bet this was a hit. Thanks for all the potluck tips!

  21. April 20, 2011 by Jessica Wood

    Came across your wonderful blog on foodbuzz & am a new follower!
    – Jessica @

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