Meatless Monday: Fall Fest Roasted Vegetables

When we met with our caterer, one of the stand out awesome dishes was a fabulous mix of roasted fall veggies, sea salt, and a lot of olive oil.  My sister was inspired to try out a lower fat version herself and her success sent me to the kitchen!  These roasted vegetables have quickly become one of my favorite side dishes for several reasons: they are quick, easy, healthy, versatile, beautiful and delicious. It may be spring, but these roasted veggies will make you yearn for carved pumpkins and crunchy leaves. Let’s hop to it!

Ingredients (you can easily increase or decrease the quantity here):

  • 2 parsnips
  • 3-4 (my sister uses a bag of baby carrots)
  • three-quarters of a pound of brussels sprouts
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • about half of a head of cauliflower, depending on the size (you could also add some broccoli)

First: wash everything well, especially if you’re using conventional produce rather than organic.  These ingredients may not part of the Dirty Dozen, but you’ll be glad you did. I peel my carrots and the parsnips but not the sweet potato (this is pure preference, peel whatever you’d like).  I’ve lived it lots of crappy apartments with lots of crappy ovens, and I know not all ovens are created equal. Start preheating your oven to 375-400 degrees, depending on how much you trust the temperature control in your personal food kiln.

Chop it all up. I cut my brussels sprouts in half regardless of size.  I typically try to cut everything else to about the size of a nickel or quarter.  You can cut them up larger or smaller, but keep in mind that it will take the larger pieces a longer time to roast in the oven, putting your sprouts and cauliflower at risk of burning.  On the other hand, cut them too small and your tiny nubbins might shrivel and burn in the oven. But don’t make yourself crazy about chopping them all the same size – variety is the spice of life.

Dump everything in a large bowl and add about 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil.  I’ve seen recipes using a lot more, and it’s really up to you. I usually just eyeball it and it’s turned out OK. As long as you can get a nice even coating on the veggies when you stir them up, it’s probably enough. If you’re watching calories, it’s OK to go light on the oil without ill-effect.

Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. I’m not a super salt user, so I only add a few cranks of my grinder. I use McCormick “Perfect Pinch” Italian Seasoning because I’m lazy, but you can do your own mix of thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and/or basil however you’d like. Honestly I don’t measure this either. Cooking is all about experimenting, guys. Save the measuring cups for baking, I say! I give everything a nice coating, then mix it all together.

Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray (or use oil or butter, whatever you’d like). Carefully pour the contents of your bowl onto the sheet and spread it all out as evenly as possible. I’ll usually have a bit extra, so I throw them into a glass baking dish. Your oven should be ready by now, right? Throw everything in there (uncovered) and set your timer for 35 minutes. Walk away and do something else.

My baking sheet could use a deep clean.

After 35 minutes, have a look. Your veggies should look golden brown and the edges of your brussels sprouts and cauliflower may start getting a bit crispy. Don’t be scared – that’s OK. Poke a fork into one of your potato wedges and make sure they aren’t still completely uncooked. They may still have a little bite to them, but that’s fine – you aren’t making mashed potatoes here. Not done yet? Turn down the heat if your greens and cauliflower are getting too crispy and let them cook another 5-10 minutes. Done? Take them out and enjoy! These veggies reheat well and will live happily in the fridge for a few days, though I doubt they’ll last that long. Bon appétit, y’all!



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