Are roasted root vegetables a mainstay in your cooking this winter? If they aren’t, it’s an idea well worth considering. Not only are they super easy to make, but their leftovers can also be used all week long in all kinds of meals, from stir-fries and salads to sandwiches and omelets.
As Mi Ae Lipe writes in the “How to Use This Book” section of Bounty from the Box, if you’re not already eating oven-roasted vegetables on a regular basis, especially in winter, you’re going to love starting to do so. Roasting vegetables in a hot oven, 375 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, intensifies their sweetness, enough so that even kids will enjoy them. You can roast most any vegetable, from asparagus to zucchini, but the sweetness and rainbow of colors offered by root vegetables may explain why they’re appearing on more restaurant menus.
Try Bounty’s recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables from Greta’s Kitchen, which comes from Featherstone Farm in Minnesota. You get to choose which vegetables to use, from the familiar (potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips) to the less familiar (celeriac and daikon radish). The vegetables are diced into half-inch cubes and mixed with olive oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup, then baked under foil.
I also like to roast vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper—no pan to wash!—while lightly coating the veggies in olive oil. Instead of slicing them into uniform sizes, I often cut them into different shapes—half-moons for the turnips and beets, for example; two-inch lengths for carrots, parsnips, and potatoes; and sweet potatoes halved or quartered. If I have red onion, Jerusalem artichokes, a leek, or a piece of winter squash in the fridge, I’ll slice or dice one or more of them to add this to the mix and roast uncovered at 375 to 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through cooking. Cooking times may differ from one vegetable to another; consult Bounty for recommended roasting times for specific veggies, and remove them from the baking sheet when tender.
Roasted root veggies piping hot or even slightly cooled are a wonderful accompaniment for so many main dishes—think pasta, polenta, meatloaf, and grain-bean casseroles. And what I like just as much about roasted vegetables is their versatility as leftovers. Here are some of my favorite ways to use them:
Simple Stir-fry (pictured above): Slice and sauté leaves of any variety of kale or other green with a few thin slices of red onion. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, until the greens wilt, then add diced leftover roasted vegetables to the skillet and cook until they are heated through. For a heartier meal—brunch, lunch, or dinner—serve with millet, rice, polenta, beans, or sausage, or top each serving with a fried egg. (In case you’re wondering, that’s avocado spread on the toast—its rich butteriness makes a fantastic nondairy alternative to the usual butter or margarine).
Rainbow Salad (pictured on top of post): Add diced leftover roasted vegetables like red or yellow beets, parsnips, carrots, butternut or delicata squash, sweet potatoes, and red onion to salad greens. For a main dish salad, add one or more of the following proteins: toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, crumbled soft cheese (feta, chèvre, or blue cheese), sliced hard-boiled egg, or a generous sprinkle of cooked quinoa or millet. Stir in a sprinkles of chopped fresh parsley or other herbs. Serve with any favorite vinaigrette dressing. I especially like olive oil mixed with the juice of a blood orange.
Pita Bread Sandwich: Dice leftover roasted vegetables into small pieces and make the Rainbow Salad above, choosing from the list of protein add-ins. Stir in a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley or other herbs. Mix with a favorite vinaigrette or yogurt dressing and scoop into halves of pita bread or even a flour tortilla.
Rainbow Veg Omelet: Dice an ample amount of leftover roasted vegetables for the filling of an omelet. Especially good with fresh herbs and any good melting cheese.
If you haven’t yet discovered the versatility of roasted vegetables and the practicality of cooking extra for leftovers, roast some root veggies this week!
About the author: This week’s blog post and pictures come from Martha Wagner, a Portland, Oregon-based food writer, gardener, and passionate advocate for sustainable living, wellness, and organic agriculture.