I must admit, I'm a veggie lover. My mom even says that, as a child, while everyone else at a birthday party headed for the cake, I would make a beeline for the vegetable tray. As I grew, I began to realize that not everyone had the same adoration for broccoli florets and celery sticks as I did. However, there is one preparation method that can make veggies a little easier to eat, even delicious, for those who don't share my passion for produce: roasting.
Just about any vegetable can be roasted with mouth-watering results. Bell peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and beets are just a few of the many possibilities. No matter what vegetable or mix of vegetables you choose, the result will be sweet, caramelized gems. To roast vegetables, you simply cut up whatever veggies you're using and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you might like. You can even add a little fresh squeezed lemon juice. Lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer and pop them in the oven. Softer vegetables will cook more quickly while harder ones will take a little longer. For best results, make sure not to over-crowd the baking sheet. If the vegetables are not in a single layer, they will steam rather than roast. Steaming means not a ton of flavor and that's exactly what we don't want. Whether a planned dish or a way to use up leftover produce in the fridge, roasting will take your vegetables to another level and may even make a vegetable lover out of you.
Roasted Vegetable Medley with Brown Rice
2-3 lbs of mixed of vegetables for roasting such a zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, eggplant, and potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or enough to lightly coat veggies
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
2/3-1 cup cooked brown rice
Meat/protein of your choice
Any condiments or sauces you like (soy sauce, hot sauce, etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add any other herbs or spices you might like at this point as well.
3. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Don't hesitate to use more than one sheet if necessary. Cook vegetables in oven for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve vegetables with rice and your meat or protein of choice. Salmon, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and beans are all great options. Sometimes, I just have the veggies and rice by themselves.
Feel free to change up the grain as well. Wheat berries, bulgur, quinoa, or even whole grain pasta would work beautifully. Think of this as a general outline and be creative or just use what you have on hand. There are no rules here. Happy roasting!