You can cook vegetables so they taste really, really good. Every time. It’s easy and works with almost every vegetable on the planet. I’m talking about roasting. If you already know the magic of roasting veggies, give yourself a high-five and share this post with all your friends. You deserve the praise. If not, keep reading my friend. You will soon be drinking the Kool Aid.
If you think you don’t like vegetables, and have eaten mostly canned vegetables, I believe you. I don’t like most canned vegetables either. Mushy and flavorless, yuk. Roasted vegetables, with caramelized outsides and tender insides, slightly sweet and flavorful – a whole new ball game. Deliciousness. Guilt free deliciousness.
Here’s how you do it:
Take any fresh vegetable, from asparagus to zucchini, and cut it into chunks. The smaller the chunks, the quicker it will cook. Asparagus can be left whole, so can mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and anything else you would serve whole.
Get your oven hot, about 425 F. Coat a baking sheet (or two, depending on how many veggies you have) with non-stick spray. Toss your veggies with some olive oil, salt (kosher or coarse if you have it) and pepper. Vegetables need seasoning to bring out their flavors, so don’t be afraid to add some salt.
Pop into the oven and roast until the edges are brown and they smell good. Asparagus takes about 15 minutes, sweet potatoes about 45 minutes, other veggies fall somewhere in between.
Now, while they are still warm, add any flavorings you want. Balsamic or red wine vinegar are great on summer veggies like eggplant, bell peppers and zucchini. Green veggies like broccoli love lemon juice. They all like something a little acidic to balance the sweetness that has come out through roasting. Garlic is great, too – chop and mix into veggies on the hot pan so it cooks a little. Any herb you like works here too. Red pepper flakes are great if you like a little heat. All veggies seem to like some grated parmesan cheese. No need to feel guilty about grating some good cheese on top – its so flavorful you don’t want too much.
That’s it. Good veggies that took very little time. You can also make these same veggies on the grill – just cut them into pieces big enough to not fall through the grill grates, or get one of those grill baskets and throw them in there. Shish-kebob without the trouble.
I like to make a big batch of these and use them throughout the week. Then:
Add some rinsed, drained cannelloni beans and feta cheese for a one-dish meal.
Add to cooked pasta, quinoa, farro, or brown rice and top with vinegarette dressing for a great salad. Can also be combined with beans and cheese. Double yum.
Add to marinara – whatever is your favorite – and top pasta or polenta with a filling, healthy and delicious sauce. Or pour into a casserole dish, top with mozzarella and parmesan, and bake.
Pack into a whole-wheat pita pocket with some hummus and greens for a great sandwich. Or top a turkey burger with some provolone and roasted veggies.
Warm with some vegetable or chicken stock and blend for a comforting, creamy soup.
Top greens with veggies and beans for a tasty, so not boring salad.
You get the idea – versatile and yummy. This technique works with whatever looks good and/or is on sale at the market, and may even get the kids to eat their veggies. Cook once, eat several times. Comfort food that is healthy food – Amen to that.