Roasting vegetables on an outdoor grill is a treat in the summer, but they are also sensational oven-roasted as a side dish for holiday meals. Roasting is a wonderful, low-fat way to prepare many favorite fall vegetables, giving them a sweeter, richer flavor.
So many vegetables are delicious when roasted: bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, squash, beets and eggplant. Simply brush them with a little olive oil to prevent drying.
Start by cutting larger vegetables into bite-size pieces before brushing with oil. Then season with herbs and spices. Use rosemary with onions and mushrooms, thyme with eggplant and potatoes, basil with tomatoes, and dill with beets. Roast vegetables at 400 degrees, basting occasionally with chicken stock, orange or apple juice, or low-fat Italian dressing.
The density and size of the vegetable determines the cooking time. Tomatoes, summer squash and eggplant take only 20 to 30 minutes, while onions, peppers and winter squash need 30 to 45 minutes. Potatoes and carrots can cook for an hour, but beets and pumpkins may require an hour and a half. You'll know they're done when they have a nice brown color and can be easily pierced with a fork.
Try roasting eggplant covered with a mixture of tomato paste and water and seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic cloves, basil and fresh parsley. Serve roasted beets with a dressing made by whisking together wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of sugar, olive oil and chopped fresh dill. Roasted vegetables are delicious served over grains like quinoa, rice, couscous, or bulgur.
Autumn Roasted Vegetables
Makes 4 servings.
- 3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 9 small white button mushrooms
- 2 cups brussels sprouts (cut in halves if large)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 10-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans for garnish
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- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss vegetables with the oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Place vegetables in a roasting pan. Pour stock into the pan. Roast 45 minutes, stirring and turning every 10 to 15 minutes.
- When close nearly tender, raise oven heat to 425 degrees and continue roasting 10 to15 minutes more or until vegetables are browned and tender.
- Remove from oven, drain of any excess liquid, and serve hot, garnished with pecans.
Makes 4 servings, each containing 144 calories and 4 grams of fat.