12 June 2010

Roasted Vegetables

I was raised on meat (particularly the red variety) and it kept me alive and relatively healthy for a good 18 years. But among the many reasons I no longer find it a very compelling food source, I really don’t think it has nearly as much inherent, and diverse, a collection of flavors as vegetables. Case in point: roasted veggies. And to those of you out there who are not sold on the plant kingdom as a taste treat, I challenge you to find a vegetable that doesn’t get better with some blackened bits on it. Really. Try it.

Vegetables that take the longest amount of time (30-40 minutes) to roast: potatoes (red, white, or sweet), beets, squash

Vegetables that take 20-25 minutes to roast: onions, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, green beans, zucchini and summer squash

Add these to the oven last (15 minutes): sweet or hot peppers, cooked edamame or chick peas, tomatoes, fresh mushrooms

Heat oven to 375˚F. Chop your chosen veggies into uniform, bite-sized pieces, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Don’t crowd them; the more surface area is touching the pan, the more browning you’ll get. Times listed above are approximate—just check (and turn) them once in a while.

I also like to add a bit of balsamic vinegar to Brussels sprouts, beets, and carrots along with the olive oil and salt for sweetness. And the potatoes are particularly open to seasoning; you’re basically making a baked version of fries by roasting them. Try chili powder and lime juice; turmeric, cumin, and cayenne; or good old-fashioned (?) Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packets.

Roasted vegetables are great on their own or tossed with pasta or rice and a little parmesan cheese. Or stick them on a pizza crust or other flatbread for a handy, fork-free way to eat them.

Anyone else out there have other ideas?