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Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

One of my favorite summer meals is panzanella.  If you’re not familiar with this little dish, it is simply a bowlful of seasonal vegetables with homemade croutons or bread and a dressing of some sort.  And it is wonderful.  This fresh version with tomatoes and peppers is one that I make frequently.

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Today I wanted to create something just as pleasing, but a bit different.  I wanted to be both delicious and satisfying as well as be loaded with vegetables.  I know I’ve preached this before, but eating vegetables is key to keeping me feeling good, so I really try to pack them in throughout the day.  One of the vegetables that I wanted to rely on for this receipe is eggplant.  Why eggplant?  Well, because I can’t stop buying it at the farmers market– it’s just so darn gorgeous.  I have a weird relationship with this vegetable.  I don’t generally love the flavor, and at times I find the texture to be a bit…unique.  I needed to find a way to appreciate it, aside from the aesthetic, because admiring its beauty while it sits unused on my countertop is a bit wasteful.  And the other recipes I’ve tried have just seemed ho-hum or so loaded with other unhealthy things that it kind of defeated the point of eating healthy.  So that’s why eggplant.

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Thankfully, not only did I find a way to use it, I found a way to actually enjoy it!  This panzanella is everything that I wanted it to be.  Using small globe-like eggplants worked well in this recipe.  The seeds are smaller, which appeals to me.  The vegetables became tender and delicious when roasted.  Tossing them with homemade croutons, a red wine vinaigrette, and feta was a beautiful combination.  The feta melted slightly against the warm vegetables.  It was magical.  The smashed garlic cloves become soft and buttery.  Roast whatever vegetables you have on hand– it will work.  Change up the cheese, if you want.  Goat or ricotta salata will work well, too. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant

(serves 2)

about 10 small eggplants, diced

1-2 red peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces

handful of small cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1 hot pepper, optional

olive oil, salt, and pepper

1/4 – 1/2 baguette, cubed

Feta, goat, or ricotta salata cheese crumbles, to garnish

For the Vinaigrette:

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

about 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  On a large baking sheet with parchment paper, toss the eggplant, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic cloves together with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, toss the cubed baguette with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread on another baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake on the bottom rack until just crispy, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Make the vinaigrette by mixing the garlic clove, mustard, thyme leaves, and red wine vinegar together.  Then whisk in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

When the vegetables are done roasting, mix them together with the homemade croutons.  Then toss everything with the red wine vinaigrette.  Re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve with feta crumbles on top and even a few more thyme leaves.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

(Serves 4)

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!

Laurie

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