Gathering your favorite vegetables and cook them to perfection is a perfect way to comfort the soul. Roasting vegetables in the oven is a simple way to use up vegetables that will turn soon if not used or a great way to cook vegetables freshly picked from the local farmers market. The nice thing about roasting vegetables in the oven is the flavor combinations are endless.
Today I was in the mood to clean out my produce drawer and found some mushrooms and peppers that I needed to use up quickly. I also had some potatoes and onions that I had forgotten about in the pantry and knew if I didn’t use them that day, I would probably forget them again only to discover them moldy or sprouting the following week. I grabbed some yellow and green zucchini for added color. The two types of peppers I used a beautiful jalapeno and orange bell pepper. I love having a variety of peppers on hand at all times. They add nutrition and color to a variety of dishes and their shelf-life is pretty long if you store them properly. Just make sure they stay dry and well ventilated in your produce drawer.
A plate full of vegetables is such a pretty sight, I almost prefer it to a flower bouquet as a centerpiece. I try to eat seasonally and although winter is almost over and spring is just ahead, good quality springtime vegetables have yet to hit my immediate area. Therefore hearty winter vegetables are still on the menu and I don’t mind it. Today I have beautiful green and yellow squash, mushrooms, a medium-size yellow onion, potatoes, one orange bell pepper, and one colossal jalapeno pepper. When I am roasting different types of vegetables at once, I like to make large batches to enjoy throughout the week.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Depending on what vegetable you are mixing and matching, you will need to cut them in the correct size so it cooks perfectly at the same time. Mushrooms and zucchini have high water content and will release water while roasting. Cut the mushrooms and zucchini into 1-inch cubes. Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots are hardier, so cut them into half-inch cubes.
Today was the day to use up older ingredients to make room for the new, so I decided to also use dried herbs that I had in my pantry. Dried herbs have a long shelf-life but the longer they sit your pantry, the more they lose their robustness. So please use your herbs promptly to get the full flavor dried herbs have to offer. After you mix the vegetables in a large bowl with a small amount of oil of your choice (just enough to give them a slight shine) and any herbs and seasoning such as salt and pepper to taste. I used dried thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.
Place the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure the vegetables are evenly spread in a single layer. You might need two or three baking sheets to get a nice even color. I need to say a few words about parchment paper. For many years in the past, I was an uncompromising lover of foil. When I decided to be more environmentally conscious, I was sad to be losing foil forever. However, I was pleasantly surprised how parchment paper elevated the quality of my baking. Chocolate chip cookies baked up softer, oven-baked French fries were crispier, and my buffalo cauliflower wings did not stick to the parchment paper as it did with foil. Plus the cleanup was just the same as the foil. Consider using parchment paper instead of foil for your baking.
Place the vegetables in a 400-degree oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. I rotated the trays halfway through the cooking time. I like there to be charred edges so I took out the vegetables at around 30 minutes.
Roasted vegetables are a simple way to add nutrition to any meal and can be made in advance. Garnish with fresh herbs and avocado for a simple lunch or pair it with a protein for a quick mid-week dinner. If you have any leftover and want to transform it, simply add it to a pot with vegetable stock, heat and puree for a quick vegetable soup.
I hope this recipe inspires you to cook more with vegetables. Eat seasonally as much as possible and if you’re unable to grow your vegetables, venture out to the local farmers market and get to know where your food is coming from. Set the intention to be mindful of the food you eat. An ayurvedic proverb describes if your diet is wrong, medicine will be of no use, but if your diet is good, medicine will not be needed.