Variable Roasted Vegetables (an everyday favorite)

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Following up on the previous post where I asked about your favorite go-to everyday dishes (keep your ideas coming!) I thought I'd introduce some of mine. The posting of them may be sporadic, since I'll be taking pictures and things when I actually made them for dinner.

First up is something that is very easy to assemble, quite healthy, cheap, as seasonal as you want it to be, and almost infinately variable. It's simply roasted vegetables. I make this all the time, throughout the year, using whatever vegetables I have. It's a good refrigerator-clearer too.

This is not really a recipe, but a sort of generic formula for roasting vegetables.

The basic roasted vegetable formula

  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes

Preheat the oven to 225°C/ 440°F. Make ready one or two baking sheets

For a well-rounded one-dish meal, I use this combination:

  • 1 part starchy vegetables, e.g. winter squash or kabocha, sweet or white potatoes, lotus root, other starchy roots.
  • 1 part a combination of aromatic vegetables, e.g. onion, leek, garlic, shallots, fennel bulbs. I don't use ginger for roasting since it turns hard and horrible (though you could use grated ginger). Herbs are a nice addition too.
  • 1 to 2 parts other vegetables. Here you can use anything that is not too watery. Vary this by the season. In spring you might use asparagus or spring cabbage; in summer zucchini other summer squash, eggplants and peppers; in the fall or throughout the year, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, rutabaga, daikon radish, brussel sprouts...whatever you like.

The harder and more solid the vegetable, the smaller and thinner you should cut it. Alternatively, you may want to pre-boil it for a few minutes. Lotus root and taro roots require parboiling, and if you parboil white potatoes, when you roast them they will be nice and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

For every 4 cups of combined vegetables, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or other oil, salt and pepper, and mix well. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake/roast for about 15-20 minutes.

Take it out and give it a stir around. At this point you can add some toppings - see below for suggestions. Roast for another 5-10 minutes.

Toppings and additions

This is a great side dish to a main protein like steak or roast chicken, but it can also be a complete one-dish meal by adding a protein rich topping. Some suggestions:

  • Cheese! Feta cheese is my favorite for this, but any cheese you like will do. Add at the stirring-up stage.
  • Plain whole or chopped nuts. Walnuts, almonds and pecans are especially suited for this I think. Add at the stirring-up stage to avoid burning
  • Miso-tahini paste with walnuts (go easy on the salt on the vegetables if you use this) Add at the stirring-up stage.
  • Cooked chickpeas or other beans - add at the beginning
  • Cut up sausage. If cooked, add at the stirring-up stage; if not, add at the beginning
  • Leftover meatloaf, crumbled up, with a sprinkle of cheese - add at the stirring-up stage

A couple of combination suggestions

  • A flowery vegetable combination: Broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, artichoke hearts, tiny potatoes or chunks of regular potato, chopped garlic, rosemary. Toss all with olive oil; top with some gorgonzola cheese.
  • A fall vegetable combination (the one pictured in the photo): Winter squash (kuri squash or Knirps used in the photo), fennel, leek, broccoli, garlic. This can be topped with cheese or Miso-tahini paste with walnuts.
  • A root vegetable combination: carrots, daikon radish, sweet potato, onion, garlic. Toss with olive oil and some red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Optionally top with feta or other cheese, or go the sweet way and top with some sugar or honey.

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