I love roasted vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, different types of squash, parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabaga, onions, mushrooms, all colors of bell peppers, even eggplant and garlic. You can probably roast any of your own favorite vegetables. Throw in some broccoli and cauliflower or brussel sprouts if you like.
I have found that even people who claim to dislike all vegetables are prone to being delightfully surprised at how sweet and tasty veggies can be when roasted. It tends to caramelize them and brings out a special flavor that is not present when they are steamed, fried or boiled. Caramelization does occur to some degree when stir frying, if you are careful to keep them from burning, that is (hence the word “stir” comes into play). The trick to roasting vegetables is to have them cut up into pieces that are similar in size. Let’s visit the farmhouse root cellar and see what we can find down there. (Okay, just pretend and humor me.) My grandparents had a similar cellar at their farmhouse, but I confess I was so involved in checking for spiders and webs, I barely noticed anything else down there.
Basic roasted vegetables
Assortment of about 2 pounds of your favorite vegetables (suggestion: potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks; peeled carrots; peeled and quartered onions; cut-up red, yellow or orange bell peppers and peeled parsnips)
About 2 tablespoons (or desired amount) extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
About 1 tablespoon of your favorite dried herb(s), such as parsley, rosemary, or even some Italian seasoning
Garlic, optional (in whole cloves, or minced, but if using minced, do not add until veggies are at least halfway done, to avoid burning the garlic)
1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables (including whole garlic cloves, if using) with at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and dried herbs. Make sure the veggies are well coated.
2. Evenly spread the mixture into a large rimmed baking pan (such as a jelly-roll pan). The vegetables should be in a single layer for best results. Place pan in preheated oven.
3. Roast vegetables for about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are lightly browned and fork-tender. If using minced garlic, remember to add that about 15 minutes or so before the other veggies are done. If the garlic burns, it will ruin the whole thing.
Beef and roasted vegetable soup with barley
As stated before, watch the garlic carefully. I would wait and add it a little later than the other veggies.
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large portobello mushroom, stem removed, chopped (or equivalent of smaller, brown crimini mushrooms)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped (I leave this out, but only because I don’t care for fennel)
1 garlic clove, minced (or more if you love garlic like I do)
8 cups beef stock
2 cups water
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2/3 cup quick-cooking barley (I can never find this so I use regular barley)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Dash ground nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper; sprinkle over beef and toss to coat. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add seasoned beef and brown evenly; remove beef from pan.
2. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom, onion and fennel; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add stock and water, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of pan. Return beef to pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 40 to 60 minutes or until meat is tender. Preheat oven to 425.
3. Meanwhile, place the squash, potato and carrots on an greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheet; drizzle with remaining olive oil and toss to evenly coat the vegetables. Roast the veggies in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are almost tender, stirring at least twice.
4. Add barley, thyme, nutmeg and roasted vegetables to soup; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (longer if using regular barley) or until the barley is tender.
Sprinkle soup with parsley. Makes about 3 quarts or 8 servings.
Roast veggie panini
This is not an exact recipe, but more of an idea you can run with. And if you don’t have a sandwich griller, just press the completed sandwich against a lightly oiled heavy skillet. Be careful when turning the sandwich over, though.
Favorite artisan bread, sliced
Sandwich spread, such as pesto sauce, red pepper aioli or hummus (recipe follows for red pepper aioli)
Favorite mixture of pre-roasted veggies
Favorite cheese for melting (mozzarella is a good choice)
1. Begin to assemble sandwich by spreading pesto or hummus or whatever you choose on two slices of your choice of bread.
2. Arrange some roasted vegetables on one of the prepared slices; top with some slices of your favorite cheese. Top with remaining prepared slice.
3. Cook in panini grill or toast on oiled skillet until the bread begins to brown and cheese is melted. Remove and cut sandwich in half before serving.
Red pepper aioli
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained and patted dry
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the red bell peppers and process until almost smooth. Blend in the mayonnaise. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season the aioli with desired amounts of salt and pepper. Can be made 2 days ahead of time.
Roasted vegetable quiche
1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled (optional) and diced (medium dice)
1 small eggplant, diced (medium dice)
1 medium bell pepper, diced (medium to large dice)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch of kale (about 8 stems), washed and torn
1 medium onion, sliced thin
Additional olive oil
1 prepared, uncooked pie crust
1 1/2 cups Gruyere, shredded
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. For vegetables: Preheat oven to 425. Toss the diced potato, eggplant and pepper with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste) in a wide baking dish so vegetables are in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from oven and let cool. In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, stirring to avoid burning. Cook for about 20 minutes until caramelized, then remove from pan. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat and saute kale until cooked. Remove from pan and roughly chop the kale.
2. For quiche: In a large bowl, toss the vegetables together. In a separate bowl, toss the cheese and flour together and then mix the cheese in with the vegetables. Fill the pie crust with the vegetable cheese mix. Stir milk and salt into beaten eggs. Pour milk over vegetables and bake quiche for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is set. Let quiche rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before serving