Ah, the evening chill of Fall. It turns the switch in my brain from wanting the cool, crisp vegetables that I’ve been eating all summer to warm, comforting dishes. Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to those fabulous cucumbers for the next several months, but I’m ready to slowly warm my house and enjoy the lingering smell of roasted vegetables. I’m ready to have Radd come home from work, open the front door, and see him smile when he notices those beautiful aromas. There is something therapeutic about it. I get so excited to share this style of warm, homecooked meal with my family.
You already know that (aside from sweets) vegetables are really all I need. While I love those raw fresh and crisp summer specimens, roasting imparts– or perhaps emphasizes– other flavors entirely. They develop a bit of a personality and a little more character. They are both sweeter and more complex. This recipe really showcases what I’m talking about.
The vegetables are prepared in a large baking dish where they slowly caramelize in the oven. They take on those fantastic roasted notes, and become oh-so tender. But there’s more. This meal has another layer of flavor due to a superb caper vinaigrette. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to add the dressing at first. Capers– though I love them– can really overpower a dish. Adding their salty, briny character struck me a bit odd. Much to my surprise, the result was brilliant. The maple syrup accentuates the sweetness of the vegetables. The Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil meld to create a beautiful canvas for the punch of those potent little capers. Rather than compete to overpower your taste buds, the flavors end up nicely balanced, each taking its turn. They complement each other perfectly, and once you taste these vegetables, you won’t roast them any other way.
For the vegetables, most any combination of your favorite root variety will work here. Some will need longer roasting times, so adjust accordingly. When choosing parsnips, try to choose medium sized ones. If you can only find large ones, just make sure to quarter them and cut away the woody center. This dish would be wonderful paired with a roasted chicken or a braised pork shoulder. Or make them on their own. Just be sure to share. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette
4 medium parsnips
4 medium red onions
2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled
2 -3 medium purple carrots (regular can be substituted)
2/3 cup olive oil, divided
4 thyme sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)
2 rosemary sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons small capers
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel the parsnips. Cut the carrots and parsnips into halves and then into 2-3-inch segments. Peels the onions and cut each into 6 wedges.
Place the parsnips, carrots, and onions on a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Spread out evenly and roast for 20 minutes.
Prepare the sweet potatoes by cutting their ends off. Then cut them into halves. Then each half into six wedges. Add the potatoes to the dish of vegetables, toss, and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, or so.
When the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, toss in the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, capers, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as they are removed from the oven. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty Cookbook
For more healthy fare inspiration, take a look at these other ideas via womenshealthmag.com — Thanks for stopping by!
Follow me on Twitter