I came across one recently while hunting for a new side dish to fix for an early Mother’s Day supper with my lovely mom. The recipe, called summer vegetable bake, came from a cookbook called “Vegetables on the Side” by Sallie Y. Williams (which I highly recommend).
It called for potatoes, zucchini, onions and tomatoes cut into chunks, tossed with olive oil, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and then roasted in the oven. I skipped the tomatoes because they aren’t in season and instead got a couple handfuls of fresh green beans. I chose red potatoes, picked some rosemary and thyme from my herb garden, and added a few cloves of garlic to the mix. Voila! It was a huge hit, and it was so easy it was almost ridiculous.
But this got me thinking that I don’t roast vegetables enough. Recently, we talked about that roasted broccoli recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. I have always loved to roast winter squash and asparagus, and a few years ago I discovered the wonders of roasted Brussels sprouts.
It strikes me that one could cube all sorts of vegetables – whatever is in season or on hand – and toss them together for a mixed vegetable bake. Turnips, beets, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, peppers, tender-skinned squash, whole mushrooms and sweet potatoes are all options, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Different herbs and seasonings can be used to achieve varied results.
Roasted vegetables are such a basic concept, but the result has such wonderful texture and flavor. In addition, adding potatoes to the dish provides a starch, so you can get away with only preparing this one side dish and everybody’s satisfied. It’s healthy, too, if you use a heart-smart oil such as olive or canola.
How often do you roast vegetables? What are your favorite vegetables to roast?