One of my favorite sides to make is roasted vegetables as it takes little effort with great reward. In the summer I tend to roast bell peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant and so on…once the vegetables are roasted, I use them for sandwiches, appetizers, sides or even just chopped in a salad.
In the winter, I tend to roast rooted winter vegetables, I try to think about what vegetables compliment each other and how do the vegetables change in flavor once baked. I use vegetables like carrots and parsnips, I also add fennel and brussel sprouts but if you want to stay true to rooted vegetables you can omit the fennel and brussel sprouts and add potatoes or yams.
For the vegetables, buy what’s in season for winter, here are the vegetables I used:
- Carrots – carrots are great to roast in the oven as they become really sweet when they are roasted. I bought a variety pack that had different colored carrots, this added color to my dish but did not change the flavor of the side dish
- Parsnips – parsnips are a rooted vegetable related to the carrot and parsley family and I find them to be a little sweeter than the carrots when they are roasted. I have never tried the parsnips raw but they can be eaten raw as well
- Fennel – fennel is something I grew up eating raw and I just love it! I eat it shaved in my salads, I make a fennel salad or I snack on it between meals. Fennel is in the celery family and roasting the fennel will bring out the sweetness in the vegetable
- Brussel Sprouts – brussel sprouts are something I just love…love…love! Brussel sprouts are from the cabbage family and can be eaten raw, steamed, pan fried or roasted. In roasting the brussel sprouts, again, it brings out the sweetness of the vegetable click here for an amazing brussel salad recipe
Another thing to think about in roasting is “how roasted do you want your vegetables to be”? I say this as I was doing a class recently where I made roasted broccoli with garlic. I roasted the broccoli for 20 minutes and removed them from the oven and tossed them, the broccoli was cooked to perfection, ready to be platted…it wasn’t good enough for me, I knew if I allowed the broccoli to stay in the oven for an additional 15 minutes I would transform them from being a good side dish into an amazing side dish and I was right!
Every oven is different so in roasting your vegetables go for the color!
For those of you who never bought a parsnip here is a sample of one prior to peeling and being baked
cut the brussel sprouts into 1/4’s
place all the vegetables on a baking sheet, season with salt, pepper and oil
bake for 20 minutes, at this point they were done but I wanted that extra 10-15 minutes so I tossed them and baked them a little longer
This is the perfect side dish, especially in the winter when these vegetables are in season! Remember to play with your timing to find what works best for you. If you are unsure if the vegetables are done cooking, take a fork and pierce a carrot, if the fork goes in easy, the vegetables are done…if the vegetables are cooked through but the vegetables don’t have that “charred” look then I’d recommend cooking them for a little longer.
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Thank you again ~ Patty Limatola-Tanenbaum