Monday, May 28, 2012

Easy and Tasty Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is the easiest possible way to enrich their flavors with nothing added but heat and a bit of salt and pepper. Everything becomes tender and natural sugars caramelize. Cauliflower sweetens and improves in a way that's hard to describe - I'll just say that I rarely chose to eat cauliflower before trying it roasted and now it's one of my favorites.

Roasting at 350, the vegetables will be ready in around 30-40 minutes. If you do a Weekly Veg Prep like I do, you can have this in the oven in about 10 minutes and work on a main dish while it cooks.
Stack up a few handfuls of those pre-sliced squashies and give them a quick criss cross cut or just halve them.
Rinse the cauliflower and broccoli along with any other vegetables not pre-washed during the weekly veg prep (because I'm sure you're on the path to eating more veggies and having them ready will lead you straight down the green path you seek, oh health guru). Chop half an onion and 5 or 6 strips of red pepper. Also, I like to pull the broc and cauliflower pieces into smaller bits that will cook as quickly as the pepper and squash.
Now, into the bowl with the rest of you veg bits and let's anoint this lot with a tablespoon of good tasting and good-for-you olive oil. Getting the right olive oil sometimes takes a few tries. If it's strong and objectionable, try again until you find a nicely flavored olive oil. I like the Costco Kirkland brand oil that has the year of pressing right on the front label like a wine. Lucini and Colavita are both good supermarket brands also. They may not be cheap, but you'll only be using this oil sparingly and it will last! Better to have a good flavor.
Give it all a good toss around to lightly coat everything well so nothing sticks or burns in the oven.
One last element. I like to grate some sweet Vidalia onion over all on a really fine grater that mainly produces juice and pulp. Just a tablespoon or so is enough. You don't really taste onion in the finished dish, just good seasoning. The only other seasoning you need is a little salt and a good hearty shake of pepper. I say that all the time, I know.
And it's ready to go. I give it a check and turn everything with a big metal spatula at about 15 minutes or so and take it out when you begin to see a little browning here and there. Taste a little bite to be sure the harder vegetables are cooked through.   I make a big pan like this at least once a week so there will be plenty for several days. I've even added a scoop to pre-made soups or salads.
I think you'll be roasting veggies so often now that you might want to change it up and try some of these other seasonings I've experimented with and enjoyed. Most of the time salt and pepper is fine for me. But all of these are good too
2 Cups Broccoli Florets (1 small head)
2 Cups Cauliflower Florets (1/3-1/2 head)
1/2 Onion
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Yellow Squash
1/2 Zucchini
 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

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