Why is it that some people have an almost magical ability to make the humblest ingredients—a handful of lettuce, some roasted mushrooms, a simple vinaigrette quickly combined in the blender—taste next-level amazing? I’ve spent enough time around chefs to know that the magic usually lies in the details. And What’s Gaby Cooking manages to do just that with this roasted vegetable salad.

Using freshly ground spices and lots of fresh herbs; knowing how to balance the acidity and richness of a dish; using peak of season produce… and usually more olive oil than the average home cook.

But I think it’s also an inherent gift possessed by the best home cooks, one that comes from combining years of practice in the kitchen with a deep love of good food.

When I visited Gaby Dalkin at home in LA , she and her husband, Thomas, whipped up a Southwestern roasted vegetable salad that could have been basic, but upon first bite, was anything but. I could not stop going back for just one more bite, and I’ve recreated it no less than four times since I’ve been back in Austin. Proof that Gaby’s genius extends to translating her incredible cooking skills for the rest of us with recipes that taste every bit as special when I make them at home for myself.

This salad is actually hearty enough to be the main course meal, with protein from the pinto beans and grains, yummy fat from the avocado, and lots of hearty roasted vegetables that are deeply satisfying even when the temps are chilly. But it’s the cilantro vinaigrette that really takes this salad over the top: I’ve been making a big jar of it to reuse throughout the week on grain bowls or drizzled on top of fish or roasted sweet potatoes, and it majorly elevates anything it touches.

Scroll on for the recipe below…

*Click here for our entire interview with Gaby and her husband Thomas on life, love, and the perfect burrito.

This post was originally published on February 13, 2020, and has since been updated.