Those shiny, round, and bright red tomatoes at the store are lying to you. As you pass by them they whisper to you about how good they will be. Don’t fall for their tricks. You know that they will be dry and flavorless, because it’s not the right season.
Instead, look for those modest carrots. The unassuming parsnips. Those Brussel’s Sprouts that everyone makes fun of. Even the lowly potato and beets that most people pass by. Those are your friends in the winter. Trust me. Trust them. They wouldn’t lie to you.
I have found that my taste buds adjust to the changing seasons, anyway. I don’t really crave the kind of salad I would make with summer vegetables. Though we don’t get that cold here in Central California quite like it does in the northeastern U.S., I still want the comfort and warmth that only roasted vegetables can provide. Who knows, maybe it’s simply a human biology thing for that whole survival instinct (and I’m pretty sure it is), but I’m going to go with it anyway.
Just like my recipe for Greek Vegetable Stew, this one requires no real measuring. Score! The vegetables used and the quantities are entirely up to you. The more variety you have, the better. Same with the olive oil. Don’t be stingy. It’s good for you!
Roasted Winter Vegetables Recipe
Before preparing your vegetables, think about how many servings you are hoping for. The more kinds of veggies you have, the easier it is to get carried away and wind up with too much. No worries, you can cook this in batches if you don’t have a really large roasting pan, and any leftovers will store very nicely in the freezer for later use. Don’t forget to put the vegetable peels into your compost!
- parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch square-ish chunks
- beets, trimmed at the stem, cut into 1 inch square-ish chunks, see if you can find different colors but the standard red ones work just fine
- brussel’s sprouts, cut in half from stem to top (there should be a chunk of stem in each half)
- carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch rings (use multiple colors of carrots for a more interesting dish)
- potatoes, baby potatoes work best, get different varieties to add different tastes and textures, cut baby potatoes in half length-wise, or larger potatoes into 1 inch square-ish chunks
- shallots and/or yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- garlic, peeled and quarter each clove by cutting in half lengthwise then across each half
- if turnips and fennel bulbs are to your liking, cut them up and throw them in, too!
- dried oregano, Greek preferred
- dried thyme
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place your cut up vegetables into a large roasting pan. Generously drizzle the olive oil over your vegetables. Drizzle the lemon juice, I used almost half a cup for the recipe I prepared, which easily made 3-4 quarts of the final product. This provides just a little hint of acidity that helps brighten up the flavors. You can use more or less, as desired. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Gently stir to evenly coat all the vegetables with the seasonings and add more if it seems too thin.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake at 400 F for 30 minutes. Carefully stir the vegetables again to allow for more even roasting. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Check to see that the hard vegetables like the carrots and parsnips are able to easily be pierced by a fork. Return to the oven as needed until they are all tender, checking every 10 minutes. You should not really need more than an hour or so of oven time.
Remove from the oven and give a gentle stir. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice as desired for the final flavor before serving. This is great as a side dish, or even a stand-alone meal! Καλη ορεξη! Good appetite!