I have been eating lots of roasted vegetables over the past two weeks. As spring temperatures are kicking in and the daylight hours are getting longer, naturally my diet changes too. Hence, I have been enjoying roasted vegetables cooled instead of hot.
It all started out by repurposing leftover vegetables from the day before dinner in a sort of roasted veggie salad. I have been reinventing a number of my warm vegetable dishes (e.g., roasted fennel, skillet-roasted carrots, three-color cauliflower, sautéed kale & garlic, etc.) to delicious vegetable delights for consumption for the next day. A squeeze of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs adding vitality is often enough to give it enough flavor. The basic idea remains the same--a rainbow veggie salad with focus on gently roasted veggies, omitting salad greens. I love tender lettuce greens with different flavor profiles, such as peppery arugula or bitter greens like endive and radicchio, but I also enjoy the roasted and chilled vegetable medley eating experience that does not require any leafy greens. It lends more bite and substance, and another plus is that it can be prepared ahead of time. If the next day does not provide enough time for cooking, simply roast your veggies the night before and chill them in the fridge overnight. Also, if you work in an office job, bring it for lunch and munch away.
I brought roasted green asparagus to my family gathering over the weekend. It was garnished with shaved Parmesan and chive blossoms--a winner.
Roasted Vegetable Cooking
Vegetable-wise, we have the most exiting vegetable spring season ahead of us:
different colored carrots, spring onions, slender scallions, juicy fennel bulbs, bunch beets, ramps (a.k.a. spring garlic with a tense aroma), exotic mushrooms (such as morels, or cultivated cousins such as shiitake, portabella or button mushrooms), skin-on new potatoes, and beautiful rainbow chard are all to be found in the next weeks to come. Roasting such veggies to the point of softness with black-charred edges, caramelized to perfection makes a dish a success--chilled roasted veggies are back on my menu!
Roasted Vegetable Salad
(recipe makes 4 portions)
2 pounds mixed vegetables (see above for vegetables)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and more to taste
5 turns black pepper grindings from a mill
1 tablespoon fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, chopped
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Prep veggies by chopping off the stems and slicing into bite-sized pieces.
3. Add all your veggies in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbs.
4. Transfer veggies to an oiled baking sheet.
5. Roast vegetables for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender. I suggest broiling the vegetables for about 1-2 minutes before removing them from the oven. It will char the edges of your vegetables and make them super flavorful.
6. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. You could serve these veggies warm, but for the sake of our salad, we will chill them in the refrigerator overnight.
6. Assembly the roasted vegetables in serving bowls. No additional dressing is needed since the veggies are so full of flavor from the oil and acids.
Chef’s tip: If you prefer more flavor, mix a drizzle of extra virgin oil with grainy Dijon mustard and spoon over your chilled vegetables. I love eating vegetables prepared this way with grilled sourdough bread.