Basic and beautiful roast veggies
Roast vegetables are a beautiful thing – not just because they taste good. They are made to be flexible. You can use any veggies you have, flavor them any way you like, and then eat them any way you want.
There are a two main keys to success, here.
First – Use a big sheet pan and roast at high heat. Oil the sheet pan and spread the vegetables out in a thin layer without many overlaps. If you crowd everything together, you’ll get boiled vegetables. If you spread them out, you’ll get color and flavor through the caramelization that comes from high heat roasting.
Second – Flavor! Even if you’re just using salt and pepper, use a good amount of it. Under-seasoned vegetables are just blah.
Use anything you like – better yet, clean out the fridge or pantry. Just try to cut everything in a similar size so it cooks at the same time and/or be aware that softer veggies will cook more than carrots or potatoes.
One eggplant, diced
One red bell pepper, diced
A pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of frozen corn
A bag of kale, chopped roughly
Spices – 1-2 tablespoons, to taste – I used two parts curry powder to one part of seven spice, an Arab spice mixture that has a variety of spices (I think this had allspice, coriander, and cardamom)
Salt – at least 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. I think I used 1 tsp.
Preheat the oven to 400F (or 450F if you can be a little more observant).
Note – you can also place the sheet pan in the oven while it is preheating and while you are chopping the vegetables. Right before you’re ready to put the veggies in, pour olive oil into the pan and spread it around a bit, then give it 2-3 more minutes in the oven. This’ll recreate the sizzle of a hot pan or grill when you put the veggies into the pan.
Put the eggplant, tomatoes, corn (still frozen is okay), and bell pepper into a big bowl and add some olive oil. Sprinkle in almost one tablespoon of spices and a 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt. I kind of go by smell – if I can smell the spices well, I figure there’s enough there.
When I’m roasting eggplant, I add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the eggplant itself because it’ll suck up all the oil on the sheet pan and then stick there. If it has some oil on it already, it’ll roast nicely.
Spread the veggies into the sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes. While those are roasting, chop the kale, put it in a bowl and sprinkle some of the spice mixture and salt onto it. After 20 minutes, poke a fork into the eggplant to see if it is soft enough for your liking. Stir the veggies around and spread them back out, then toss the kale on top of the mixture. Put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the kale is as cooked as you like.
The first day, I served this as-is with quinoa. The second day, I pulsed it in the food processor and served it as a dip with pita bread. The third day, I used that spread as a base on a pita, then melted some cheese on top for a quick pizza.
Other ideas – Pull the vegetables a bit early and then simmer in tomato sauce for a stew, or broth for a soup. You could puree the soup and make a cream of vegetable soup. It’s completely versatile!