Monday, 25 March 2013

Roasted roots

These vegetables are so tasty that they feel naughty,
but they're actually really good for you.
Today was fridge-cleaning day. Yes, my friends, even I, the Queen of Thrift, have on occasion let things cultivate new species of penicillin in my fridge...

I'm in the process of rummaging through my vegetable drawer when I realize that I haven't used a single one of my root vegetables from last week's produce basket. Clearly, something had to be done.

Usually, I'd just steam them up, or boil them and mash them, and thoroughly enjoy my roots. But the problem is that there was a sweet potato in the mix. And if you remember my last adventure with sweet potatoes, you may also remember that it was the only way I dared eat them. You know, smothered in samosa seasoning and pastry. Super nutritious, right?

But since I had parsnips, carrots and onions to add to the mix, the decision was easy. Roast some veg.

For the record, it isn't especially impressive that this is a vegan recipe, so I'm not going to bother marketing it that way. It would kind of be like giving a blog post a title like "Vegetarian salad." But what can be challenging about roasting vegetables is finding a seasoning mix that fits pretty much any vegetable on the planet. And I'm pretty sure that you can still find one to debunk the mix I used today. But if you're looking for something that works as well on potatoes as it does on green peppers, this is a pretty good one indeed.

So I started with sweet potato, parsnips, carrots and onion.

You know I'm about to pile on the flavour when there's sweet potato involved!
I quite like a bit of bite left to my onion, so I left my onion quite large, and just made bite-sized pieces of the other vegetables. But if you don't like the tang of onion, you can cut it into smaller pieces and (even more importantly) divide the layers somewhat so they cook through.

I definitely left the onion quite large, so that it didn't disappear (as it often does). I also like my onion not quite cooked, so it's still a little tangy.

I tossed the veg in garlic, cumin and salt, which is super simple, but also a really nice combination.

The best part is reaching in with your hands to toss. Hey, olive oil is good for the skin anyway!
The olive oil I used was Zatoun, which is this beautiful, Fair Trade, extra virgin olive oil from Palestine. (It has an amazing story, by the way. Check this out for a little background, and watch the whole movie if you want an awesome documentary one rainy day.)

This olive oil costs more than non-Fair Trade olive oil, but it has the amazing perfumey scent that good-quality olive oil has, and an amazing back story as well.

Then I baked the vegetables for about 35 minutes, and now I'm sitting in my living room, with 6 servings' worth of veg in a bowl, and going at it with a fork. I'm not even embarrassed, because I know how good they are, even if you don't. (Yet.)

I hate sweet potato. But I like it like this.
Roasted roots
Makes 6 servings

Note: vegetables listed are only suggestions. This spice combination would work well with pretty much any vegetables, if you want to explore non-root veggies or swap something out.

1 medium sweet potato
4 medium carrots
2 parsnips
1 medium onion
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper.

Quarter onion and cut all other vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. (You can peel your vegetables, but all I peeled was the onion.) Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.


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