One of the easiest side dished you can prepare for fall (and Thanksgiving, in particular) is a platter of roasted vegetables. Heart healthy and low calorie, roasted veggies make an ideal accompaniment to low fat chicken, pork or fish dishes. As I mentioned in the post for roasted vegetable soup, roasting brings out the fullest flavor of vegetables; reduces any bitterness and enhances their natural sweetness.
Just about any vegetable will work. For obvious reasons, more water laden veggies like celery or leafy greens are not good candidates.
Preparing veggies is as simple as washing, trimming and cutting them into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Unless you choose to stagger cooking times, denser root veggies benefit from being cut small because they take longer to cook. The finished product can be served hot or cold. Veggies can be roasted in advance and then reheated too.
I always coat the veggies with a drizzle of good quality olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper prior to roasting. Here are some of my favorites to roast with how I like to cut them for optimal browning.
Mix and or all of these:
- Asparagus – cut woody stems off bottom
- Bell peppers – remove stems and seeds; cut into 1″ wide strips
- Eggplant – peel and cut eggplant in half lengthwise and then into 1/2″ strips
- Mushrooms – roast whole or cut in half
- Summer Squash – cut in half and then in quarters
- Onion – cut in half and lay face down
- Brussels sprouts – cut in half
- Fennel – remove fronds and stalks; cut into wedges
- Potatoes/Yams/Turnips – cut into chunks
- Pre-heat oven to 400°
- Chop veggies evenly
- Coat with olive oil making sure there is an even sheen all the way around
- Season with salt and pepper
- Lay in a single layer on a roasting pan
- Check every 10 minutes. Remove veggies from pan as they are done
Kat’s tip: My favorite melange consists of onion, summer squash, asparagus, and mushrooms. I add the onions first and roast for 10 minutes. Then I add the asparagus and summer squash and roast another 10 minutes. Last I add the mushrooms and roast 5 to 10 minutes or until they’re done. I serve this with slices of rotisserie chicken, soft cheeses (Brie and goat) and fresh bread.