If you’ve read many of my food posts, you’ve probably noticed I like to eat what is called “real, whole food” as much as possible. Fruits and vegetables prepared in simple ways to maximize the nutrition and flavor and without a lot of chemicals found in processed food. Yes, I eat meat but in much less quantity than in the past. My meals contain a lot of vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to prepare my food and my favorites are usually very simple.
One of my favorite ways to prepare food is on parchment paper in a pan or cookie sheet in the oven. Compost the paper (which is biodegradable) and wash the pan. Easy Peasy! (A large cast iron skillet is another option.)
Let’s talk roasted veggies.
The basic recipe is simple – cleaning and trimming the vegetables, tossing with a little olive oil, and using salt and pepper to taste. You do not have to stand and slice and dice some vegetables but can bake the whole vegetable by adding a few minutes to the time. Large dense vegetables need to be cut into chunks. If you are cooking mostly dense vegetables like carrots and hard squashes, they need to be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time than high moisture veggies like eggplants and zucchini. You can save time by using a bag of baby carrots. You can prepare the veggies for cooking the night before, refrigerate, and just place on the parchment paper while the oven preheats. Some recipes online suggest using oven temperatures up to 450 F. I prefer lower temperature for a little longer. As always, adapt for your family and make it your own. Want spicy veggies? Add spices. Don’t like carrots? Use your favorite vegetables. Always want onion? Never want green pepper? Always that is your choice. Take the basic recipe and use it with different vegetables each time. Try spicy, add yogurt or blue cheese, or just stay with the basic. If you just want a side dish of one vegetable such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or carrots, this is an excellent way to prepare it.
Oven Roated Vegetables
Use organic when available. Serves 4
- 2 to 3 lb vegetables for family of four
- 1 small butternut squash, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped large
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered or unpeeled baby potatoes
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 1/3 cup Oil (enough to coat the veggies ) virgin olive oil or coconut or grape seed oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- Spices (optional turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, or even some kind of garam masala or curry powder)
- Options: Fried eggs, Greek yogurt, blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 to 400 F
- (for dense low moisture veggies, use 375; for high moisture use 400)
- Clean and trim vegetables
- Peel if you want and cut into chunks large dense veggies
- Mix oil with vinegar if using
- Toss vegetables with oil (and vinegar if using)
- Place in pan or oven-proof dish
- Sprinkle with herbs and spices (if using)
- Cook about 30 minutes to an hour depending on type of veggie
- Check after 10 minutes by testing the largest vegetable for tenderness
- Check again after 10 minutes - you will learn which vegetables need longer
- Halfway through cooking add cherry tomatoes or other small juicy veggies
- Remove from pan and add optionals if desired: Fried eggs, Greek yogurt, sprinkles of blue cheese
- Serve warm
The roasted vegetables make a great side dish for most meats or fish, but if you want to have a meatless low-cost meal just add a fried egg or Greek yogurt (or both) to the top of the veggies. If your family insists they must have meat, put frozen hamburger patties in the oven halfway cooking the vegetables. I buy grass feed, organic ground beef by the pound at Aldi. I make 4 patties for each pound and freeze individually. They defrost quickly in the oven when I cook them in little aluminum nests I make from aluminum foil. Another option is baked chicken.
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