There are few things better than cozying up on the couch, putting a movie on, and eating a warm plate of roasted veg until you pass out in a food coma.
Since the weather began to change from warm to cool I’ve begun making more and more trips to my neighbourhood vegetable market. It seems I cannot be helped when there is:
a) the new seasonal crop, or b) food that looks unblemished and perfect.
To make this ridiculously simple dish there are a few things that I find to be essential:
- Get a good sheet pan. When making yam fries a few weeks back I found the baking process, high heat, and subsequent oozing of natural sugars from the yams burned my non-stick cookie sheet. A good anodized aluminum jelly roll pan got me through this process without incident. Anodized aluminum doesn’t burn or stain like non-stick bakeware, and there are no health hazards like regular aluminum cookware poses. You can find great anodized aluminum bakeware for fairly cheap these days just about anywhere. Look for one that has a high lip to it–about an inch or so. Mine was $13 and looks like the one below.
- Keep the proportions of your veg relatively the same. This will ensure they bake cohesively and you won’t end up with some soft, some firm. You’ll see what I mean in the forthcoming photos.
- Finally, never underestimate the power of fresh herbs. I have a tendency to buy bunches of them, yet seldom use everything because I don’t know how to use them fast enough. Almost anything will do for roasted vegetables, and you will find most, if not all, vegetables are able to stand up to any herb and spice combination, while simultaneously retaining the amazing flavours that permeate them. Here’s a great resource on how to keep fresh herbs.
Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is how well it keeps. Just like a good stew, these roasted vegetables taste unreal the next day. The flavours take on a different profile after having rested. To avoid them getting too soft or even soggy (as zucchini is oft to do), leave it uncovered until fully cooled before refrigerating. So have at it–rustle up some seasonal vegetables and herbs, this dish will not disappoint!
Herb-roasted Fall Vegetables
Time: 40-50 mins. (start to finish)
2 medium yams, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds
4-5 small carrots, sliced lengthwise (I used a small bunch of California carrots)
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced into chunks (orange & yellow are good too)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 tsp. for the pan
2 medium garlic cloves, minced/pressed
1 1/2 tsp. fresh baby dill, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. (or a pinch) of fresh thyme leaves, removed from stem (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and place the rack to the second-lowest position, or the centre position if your oven tends to overheat. Prep the pan by evenly rubbing or brushing on 1/2 tsp. of olive oil. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, garlic, dill, thyme, and salt & pepper in a large bowl. Toss the chopped vegetables in the bowl with your hands to coat evenly.
- Spread the seasoned vegetables evenly on the pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. Give the pan a little shake or flip veg with tongs halfway through to avoid sticking. If the vegetables are still too firm for your liking, bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and eat served with roasted chicken, a burger, or all by their lonesome. The aroma of the dill is incredible, and they taste even better.