Roasted Veggies

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“What’s for dinner?” seems like an innocuous-enough question. In reality, though, the conversation is rarely so simple.

Mr. Little Fish: “What’s for dinner?”
Me: “I don’t know. What do you feel like eating?”
Mr. LF: “How about that __?”
Me: “Or what about __?”
*Debate about the pros and cons of each protein, usually ending with my choice because I care more about variety*
Me: “Ok, so ……but what do we eat *with* that?”

And so begins the somehow-harder conversation about sides. I’m a huge fan of one-pot meals and soups and stews because it means that you don’t have to think about sides. It all goes in one thing. But sometimes you get all souped out and you want a pretty standard protein+veggie+fat plate.

Roasted sweet potatoes--always good to have on hand!

Roasted sweet potatoes–always good to have on hand!

That is where roasted veggies save the day. Trust me, you throw any veggie in some olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and stick it in a hot oven for a little while, and the resulting caramelized goodness that comes out will make a veggie-lover out of anyone. I’ve roasted everything from broccoli to cauliflower to green beans to asparagus to tomatoes, and each and every time I proclaim that I need to roast more veggies. Hell, I could even eat roasted garlic just like that (but I won’t).

The key to good roasted veggies is making sure they are as dry as possible.  That’s because any water on the veggies will steam in the high heat, which, in turn, steams the veggies rather than roasting.  As with roasting a chicken, you’re looking for dry heat here, so make sure to pat down your veggies as much as possible before putting them in.

The recipe below is for roasted broccoli, but you could easily adapt whatever you have on hand (like those green beans at the top or the sweet potatoes).  I like to put a few sweet potatoes, which take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook through, in while I’m roasting another veggie so that I have them for future meals, or just to eat by themselves (sweet potato+coconut butter almost feels like dessert!).  This particular batch of broccoli was meant to go on the side of an Asian-flavored dish, so I drizzled a tiny bit toasted sesame oil on it after I took it out of the oven, giving it a, well, toasted sesame flavor.  However, other flavor variants include squeezing some lemon juice over the top or sprinkling it with grated parmesan cheese!  You can do so many things with this!

Roasted Broccoli
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, washed and then dried as much as possible
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.  Cut the broccoli into smaller florets, all about the same size.  I actually really enjoy the stem when it’s roasted, so I trim some of the ugly parts, but cut the rest of it into similar sized chunks.
2.  Put the cut florets into a bowl, add the garlic, and the olive oil and mix well so that the broccoli is evenly coated.
3.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the broccoli evenly across the pan, making sure that it isn’t too crowded (or this again encourages steaming!).  I try to make sure each little piece has its little space.  If the pan looks crowded, get another one and evenly distribute the broccoli between the two.  Sprinkle some kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
4.  Put the broccoli in the oven for 10 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark, take the broccoli out and stir it around a bit.  You should see some browning on the undersides of the broccoli that were touching the pan.  Put the broccoli back in for about 10 minutes.
5.  Take broccoli out of the oven, and drizzle the sesame oil over it.  Serve immediately!

What’s your favorite roasted veggie?

 

Roasted Broccoli
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli, washed and then dried as much as possible
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.  Cut the broccoli into smaller florets, all about the same size.  I actually really enjoy the stem when it's roasted, so I trim some of the ugly parts, but cut the rest of it into similar sized chunks.
  2. Put the cut florets into a bowl, add the garlic, and the olive oil and mix well so that the broccoli is evenly coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the broccoli evenly across the pan, making sure that it isn't too crowded (or this again encourages steaming!).  I try to make sure each little piece has its little space.  If the pan looks crowded, get another one and evenly distribute the broccoli between the two.  Sprinkle some kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
  4. Put the broccoli in the oven for 10 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark, take the broccoli out and stir it around a bit.  You should see some browning on the undersides of the broccoli that were touching the pan.  Put the broccoli back in for about 10 minutes.
  5. Take broccoli out of the oven, and drizzle the sesame oil over it.  Serve immediately!
Notes
Remember to pat your veggies as dry as possible before you put them in the oven. Also, this recipe works for most other veggies!

Chia Breakfast Pudding

I am all about quick and easy meals this week (like this one), and breakfast is something that I know everyone is always trying to make as painless as possible.  Most of us have zombie-level brainpower in the mornings that leaves us incapable of handling kitchen utensils with any dexterity.  When I feel a week like this coming on, I try to come up with no-fuss breakfasts that I can either portion out on Sundays or throw together any which way I want on a weekday morning.  I’ve already given you a smoothie recipe, which is about as easy as it gets, but I’ve also been known to make a huge batch of slow-cooker oatmeal, and lately I tried the latest craze to hit the interwebs:  chia pudding.

That’s chia, not chai (although I  bet a chai chia pudding would be amazing!).  Chia seeds are the one and the same that came in those chia pets we all grew up seeing on TV (if not owning).  But instead of sprouting the seeds as you would in the pet, you just eat them.  Chia seeds are a “superfood” that you can find in your health-food section, and they have loads and loads of health benefits, including being high in calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.  I trust that you guys are all good at The Google, so I won’t bore you with the details.

But full disclosure:  if you have a thing about texture, this may not be for you.  Soaking the seeds whole overnight vs blending them as I do below will give you different results.  But, essentially, if you are OK with a cross between tapioca, pudding, and Cream of Wheat, it really is an easy and healthy way to have a grain-free and dairy free morning!  I make mine a basic vanilla that I can use as a base for many combinations during the week (including adding cocoa powder to it one day!).

Vanilla Chia Pudding
Adapted from Detoxinista
Makes 4 servings

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Ingredients:

1 can full-fat coconut milk (almond milk would work just as well!)
6 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple syrup or honey
Any of the toppings you would use on oatmeal!

Directions:

1.  Combine everything into a blender, and blend for about 3-4 minutes until well-blended.
2.  Pour into an air-tight container, and let chill overnight, so that the chia seeds thicken the mixture up a little.  You could also portion the mixture into small jars/glass containers if you intend on grabbing-and-going on your way out.
3.  In the morning, I prefer mine a little warm so put my portion into the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Top with whatever tickles your fancy!  One day I used leftover berry compote , and then the next I used banana, dried blueberries, and walnuts!  Both were delicious!

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What’s your favorite no-fuss breakfast?

Chia Breakfast Pudding
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • Any of the toppings you would use on oatmeal!
Directions
  1. Combine everything into a blender, and blend for about 3-4 minutes until well-blended.
  2. Pour into an air-tight container, and let chill overnight, so that the chia seeds thicken the mixture up a little.  You could also portion the mixture into small jars/glass containers if you intend on grabbing-and-going on your way out.
  3. In the morning, I prefer mine a little warm so put my portion into the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Top with whatever tickles your fancy!