Tag Archives: roasted vegetables

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

Between all of the baking I really try to make our dinners filled with an abundance of seasonal vegetables and big bold flavors.  Last week it was all about cauliflower.  Roasted, delicious cauliflower.  This very easy recipe was a snap for a weeknight dinner entree, side or weekend lunch.  It was divine – which is saying a lot for a veggie.

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad
One Head of Cauliflower
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 cup of cooked lentils
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oven at 400 degrees
Instead of cutting the cauliflower into little trees, cut the head into slices across the sphere. 
In a small glass whisk the oil and vinegar and add the curry and paprika, salt and pepper.  The “dressing” now has a burnt orange color and fragrant scent.

I dipped the head of each cauliflower slice into the dressing and laid them all out on a covered cookie sheet.  With the remaining dressing, reserve about 1 tablespoon and drizzle the excess over the cauliflower.  Bake in over for 35 minutes.
With 10 minutes left on the cauliflower timer slice the onion and throw all of the onion slices into the remaining dressing.  In a non-stick pan over medium heat, cook the dressed onions until they are nearly translucent.  Add the pre-cooked lentils (I always use pre-steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/Wegman’s) and the raisins and allow the flavors to integrate completely.
When the cauliflower has fully cooked the dressed spots will be sweetly caramelized and the heads will be browned (and extra delicious)!

Add the cauliflower to the pan with the onion, lentils and raisins and let all of those flavors dance together and serve.  That is a delicious bowl of winter.

The Best Winter Salad – Seriously

In the winter I am pretty much a salad hater.  I just can’t get behind the arugula and mixed greens that I love in the spring and summer, they all just seem so blech…  Until this weekend.

In full disclosure I did not create this recipe, in fact besides finding the recipe and eating it, I have done nothing constructive.  Mark has made this salad two times in four days and I have enjoyed it everytime.  
Spiced Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Ingredients
3/4 cup lentils
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and “cubed”
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

When we first made this it was for an impromptu New Year’s Eve dinner, happily lentils are lucky on New Years Eve.  Also lucky is that all of these ingredients were available prepared.  I am no “Semi-homemade” but, if you want to save time you can find butternut squash already peeled and cut into chunks (Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s) and lentils that have already been cooked (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Wegman’s).  Major, major time savers.

Otherwise, you can peel the squash and then cut it into 1″ thick rounds until you reach the base of the squash, and then cut the base in half and continue to cube.  I’d recommend keeping the pieces on the larger side, and forgo the urge for perfectly small squares.  The larger pieces stay firmer and provide a great texture.  I promise, it’s really very simple, and nearly impossible to screw up.

Toss the cubed squash with cumin, paprika and salt and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, and then flip the pieces and cook for another 15 minutes.  
Look at those delicious pieces of squash — ahh, Heaven!
Let the squash cool and then layer it with the lentils, which I had at room temperature, but they could also be warm, and the crumbled goat cheese and argula… Or, you could skip the arugula, it’s still pretty healthy.

To dress the “best winter salad ever” combine the left over oil/juice from the pan the squash baked on, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

I realize this doesn’t seem too salad-y, but it is a great way to play with new ingredients (lentils or goat cheese), and it is beautiful to see and eat and really affordable to prepare and it keeps well for leftovers.

Share with friends, I am sure this is lucky after New Years, too!

Brussel Sprout Magic

Dear Dad,

I wish you weren’t so turned off by brussels sprouts, they’re really pretty good.  In fact, they are better than pretty good, they’re really good.  All those years of turning your nose up at them at Thanksgiving when Cousin Karen would bring them seems silly now.   In fact, I like them sauteed with bacon or even served up with Greek yogurt at DC favorite Zaytinya. 

But, dad, they are also good simply roasted.  Here, let me show you.
Love, Carly

True story friends, up until a few years ago I had never tried a brussels sprout.  If you were like me, or my sister up until this past weekend, it is time for a change.  I love this as an easy, low maintenance side dish that requires no effort after prep time.  We served it with out Hanukkah party, but its a mainstay throughout winter when they are in season.

Roasted (Parmigiana – or not) Brussels Sprouts
A bag of brussels sprouts (the quantity depends on how many you’re feeding
A drizzle of olive oil
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
A shaving of parmigiana, optional
 First things first, rinse off all of those little mini lettuce heads.  TO be fair, they just look like heads of lettuce, the flavor is far more rich and intense.  Now its time to prune the sprout, or head, or whatever, it’s time to peel leaves off of the green ball in your hand…

You might notice that there are some weird/yucky/unappetizing black blemishes or dots on the outside leaves.  Fear not!  You are just going to rub back the leaf and then rip it off.  Each sprout will shrink in size a bit, but it’s okay.  It will be pretty again soon.

Ta Da!

Then you’re going to cut the brussels sprouts into thirds.  Insider secret, if after peeling off ugly leaves there is a bit of a white “stem” you can cut that off too.

With all of your sprouts laid out on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, give them a gentle drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Check after 30, I like mine a little browner, if you’re wanting gold then 30 minutes should be just right.

Here is some extra flavor magic: sprinkle on fresh grated parmigiana, or some truffle salt, or perhaps both.  Delicious!

Roasted Potatoes, Poupourri You Can Eat

To be fair this is not so much of a “recipe” as it is a suggestion.  

I know that this weekend is dedicated to running around for last minute costumes, carving pumpkins, excessive makeup, buying candy, consuming lots more candy, and indulging on some other celebratory vices.  And that is all good.  But, the weekend is long, and eventually you’ll want something that is healthy, and easy.  This is so easy that while you’re setting your hair in curlers and finishing the details of your meat dress this can cook.

Roasted Potatoes is the most homey non-recipe recipe there is.  I like to mix a large variety of potatoes (white, red, purple, sweet, yellow) and chop them all up into chunks that are about 1/4 – 1/3 of an inch thick.

Set the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  And get chopping. 

Ta da!  All chopped.  When all the chopped potatoes are in a bowl drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some Kosher salt, crack some black pepper.  
Okay, now here is where you have some creative license.  Are you feeling traditional?  How about some rosemary and thyme.  Want some heat?  Sprinkle on some cayenne.  Want Italian flavors?  Try oregano, parsley, and maybe some  finely grated Parmigiana-Reggiano, or do as we do and go a little crazy with the Old Bay.  There is no right or wrong amount, but you’ll want to see the flecks of flavor on each piece of potato.  This is truly an instance of “flavor to taste”.

Throw in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, the longer it’s in there the more browned the edges will become, again this is a personal preference.  Also, I am going to again recommend mixing up the variety of potatoes, they each have a different flavor and texture and so all together they are like a little (healthy) party in your mouth.
Enlarged to show flavor intensity detail!
Happy Halloween, this year instead of a pre-trick or treating peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or pizza (which are all more than fabulous), mix it up with this!

Roasted Vegetable Sauce for an Easy Weeknight

Weeknight dinners are always a little bit tricky; I want something healthy, good tasting, fairly quick and comforting.  So last night was an opportunity for some easy, hearty and full of vegetables sauce.

Roasted Vegetable Sauce
2 cups Chopped Cherry Tomatoes
2 medium Zucchini
1 medium Eggplant
Salt and Pepper
Dash of Olive Oil
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Skim Ricotta Cheee

**I really like zucchini and eggplant and so we nearly always have some variety on hand.  If you are not a fan of one you could always do without or swap in a different vegetable.  If you don’t like either you’ll just be eating tomatoes and cheese, which come to think of it isn’t so bad either.

 Chop the zucchini and eggplant into rounds about a centimeter thick.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and then cut the eggplant into smaller chunks.  Combine the chopped zucchini and eggplant with the chopped tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add to the bowl a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt, pepper, and some diced garlic.  Mix all of this up, so that flecks of oil and vinegar touch everything.

On a cookie sheet lay out a piece of parchment paper and pour out all of the vegetables.  Place the sheet in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes.  If by chance the OnDemand Yoga video, or self applied manicure is taking longer, you can let these roast for up to 45 minutes – you just don’t want the vegetables to be burned.

On the stove top set up a large sauce pan with some olive oil, chopped onion, garlic and basil over low heat.  At the same time start boiling water for your pasta. 

Now, I need to share a secret with you.  I rarely keep fresh garlic on hand at home.  This is probably shocking but in our old apartment we’d have heads of garlic and we’d lose them, and then they’d dry out and it was a waste.  Then we discovered the frozen crushed garlic and basil at Trader Joe’s.  They are perfect in a pinch, and hopefully there is a Trader Joe’s somewhere within reach.  To my Florida readers; perhaps I’ll bring you some on the next visit!

When the onions are translucent add the roasted vegetables to the saucepan.  Pour in two ladles of pasta water, and stir vigorously.  

You can keep it chunky, and stop here.  I wanted a more saucy sauce so I used my immersion blender for a few quick pulses and then added a spoonful of ricotta cheese for an smoother taste.  I paired this with a favorite pasta in the pantry, but I think I would also love this on crusty, warm bread as a bruschetta topping, or as a dip with pita.  The whole prep from beginning to end took about 45 minutes; and the bulk of that was inactive cooking time while the vegetables were roasting.  Not too bad for a healthy, well balanced dinner, ever better for a weeknight!

Buon Appetito!