This is one of the first dishes I started experimenting with when I became interested in VB6. Roasting is one of the easiest (and tastiest!) ways to prepare vegetables. Toss them with some interesting seasonings and a whole grain, and you’ve got a tasty vegan lunch or dinner.
I always include onions and garlic when I roast vegetables for this dish, but almost everything else differs. This time I used butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, but just about any vegetable works. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, turnips, parsnips…use your imagination! I sometimes even toss in a drained can of chickpeas for extra protein and added texture. You can change up the seasonings to suit the vegetable mix. I always use olive oil and something acidic like balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, plus salt, pepper and sometimes an herb or two.
I also like to vary the grains. Roasted veggies pair well with earthy things like quinoa and brown rice. Tonight I used pearled barley–I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s comparable to brown rice or quinoa nutritionally, and has almost as much protein as quinoa. With all the different possibilities this formula presents, it’s hard to get bored.
Roasted Vegetables & Grain
Serves about 5
- 1 onion, sliced into wedges
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and/or coarsely chopped
- Assorted vegetables, for example:
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 bag of Brussels sprouts, cut in half
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or as needed
- 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (you can substitute another kind of vinegar, lemon juice or another acidic ingredient)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- dried herbs such as basil, thyme or sage
- 1 cup dry barley, brown rice, quinoa or other grain (about 4 servings), prepared according to package instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and place them into a large bowl. Cut harder vegetables into smaller pieces and leave softer ones in larger chunks. For the vegetables listed above:
- Slice the onion into wedges.
- Smash the garlic cloves and remove the skins; chop them roughly.
- Cut the butternut squash in half above the bulbous bottom. Slice the bottom in half; scoop out and discard the seeds. Peel the squash carefully with a sharp paring knife and discard the skin. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Remove the loose outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and slice them in half.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and vinegar. Add a large pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add dried herbs to taste, if desired. Toss everything together and spread the vegetables in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets.
- Roast the vegetables for 30-45 minutes until they are tender and caramelized in places. Stir the vegetables and rotate the pans every 10-15 minutes throughout. Drizzle with more olive oil if the vegetables seem dry.
- Meanwhile, prepare the grain.
- Serve the vegetables over the grain, or mix it all together.
This recipe is really more of a method, so it’s incredibly easy to change it up based on whatever you have in your fridge, or scale it up or down as needed.
Here are some other flavor combinations to try:
- Use lemon juice rather than vinegar and season with cumin and paprika; include chickpeas in the mix and/or drizzle the finished dish with tahini. Cauliflower works great here!
- Use a combination of zucchini, summer squash, eggplant and/or bell pepper, toss with balsamic or red wine vinegar, and season with basil and oregano. Top with Parmesan or feta for a non-vegan variation.
- Use a mix of root vegetables–parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.–and/or winter squash and season with sage and thyme.