Last week was my spring break, and Ben and I took a quick four-day/three-night trip down to Cumberland Gap, TN.
It’s just a short five hour drive from Bloomington, and if you’re not familiar with this area, three states come together in the park–Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. We had never been before but had a blast. Even though winter is still lingering, hiking up in the woods and trails was just beautiful. The toughest hike was a 7 mile round trip hike up to White Rocks, a site that was a landmark to pioneers making the westward trek demonstrating that the Cumberland Gap pass was just a day’s walk ahead. Up top in the White Rocks area it was frosty, snowy, and terribly cold. I was so glad I chose to wear my vest instead of leaving it in the car!!
Aside from hiking, we had fun just hanging out together… reading, relaxing, and exploring a few of the nearby towns. We stayed at the Olde Mille Inn Bed & Breakfast, which I highly recommend if you’re ever in the area. It is so cute, and even though it was built in the 1800s, everything was very modern and comfortable inside. I never wanted to leave our room! It was so nice, and the breakfast everyday was amazing. Upside down pancakes, sausage gravy & biscuits, french toast, and the best steel cut oats I have ever had! We were the youngest guests by a longshot [at least 30 years] but breakfasts were served together, and it was really fun to chat with the other guests. Can I just say that I love southern accents?
We ate lunch everyday at this adorable cottage turned coffeshop–Gap Creek Coffee. My favorite drink was their Peanut Butter Cup. PB in coffee sounds a lil weird, but you can bet I’ll be looking for that on coffeshop menus in the future. Our dinners were nothing compared to the other meals of the day, but we did enjoy some good Tennessee BBQ! This area of the country definitely wasn’t gourmet restaurant central, but the area’s natural beauty sure made up for it!! Be sure to visit Cumberland Gap if you can! We’d love to go back someday.
Before we left, I made this wonderful salad as an excuse to use up as much of my produce as I could before going out of town. But seriously, you shouldn’t wait til you need to use things up… adding hot roasted, crisp veggies and chickpeas on cold salad greens is my new favorite thing!
The contrasting temperatures are just perfect! I didn’t really measure the seasonings used to roast the chickpeas, carrots, and radishes but just used a little cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, ginger, and allspice to make a spicy-sweet spice mixture to rub on with EVOO.
The dressing is a very basic lemon-olive oil-dijon mustard mixture, which paired so well with the light greens and crispy toppings. I thought about adding some vinegar to make more of a vinaigrette, but decided against it. You certainly could if you wanted, though–I just liked the tartness of the lemony dressing with the vinegary tang.
This is just a great salad! I meant to add some cheese, nuts, or avocado as my inspiration recipe suggested… but I forgot about the cheese and nuts after the roasted veggies came out of the oven, and my avocado was nasty inside. Sad day. But the good news is that none of those things are needed for this awesome salad. It’s a crunchy, hearty, flavorful salad that I am sure you will just adore!! Enjoy!
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
- 3 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 8 radishes, scrubbed and sliced into thirds
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- garlic powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- baby spring mix
for Lemon-Dijon Dressing
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- crushed red pepper
for topping, optional
- feta or parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, combine chickpeas, carrots, and radishes. Pour olive oil over top, then season with cumin, garlic, black pepper, ginger, and allspice. I didn’t measure these, but was heavy on the cumin, garlic, and black pepper, and a little lighter on ginger and allspice. Use your hands to mix oil and seasoning on chickpeas, carrots, and radishes. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk lemon juice, oil, mustard, and garlic powder together in a bowl or shake together in a jar. Season to taste with crushed red pepper.
After everything is roasted, combine baby spring mix with roasted chickpeas, carrots, and radishes as desired. Drizzle with Lemon-Dijon Dressing, and top with feta or parmesan cheese, nuts, and avocado if desired. Serve immediately.
Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 2 large salads or 4 side salads.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.