Anyone that follows my FB posts would know that I regularly bake a big batch of veggies to help extend the meals that I am serving. I usually do this on a Monday as it means I have leftovers at my disposal over the next few days, and the family love snacking on them straight from the fridge so they never go to waste (tick tick).
Apart from the fact that I LOVE baked veggies they are incredibly easy to do, can include anything that you wish to use up, and once baked they hold well in the fridge for a few days so can be “reinvented” into other meals for quick and tasty dinners when time is short.
They can be served hot on the night of baking, or once cold they can be:
- made into a delicious salad as an “extra dish” by adding some greens and drizzling with balsamic glaze, olive oil and fresh herbs (divine);
- added to hot freshly cooked pasta and stirred through with some pesto ( see here for recipe ) and sprinkled with parmesan or feta (it is a favourite in our home … yum!);
- used in a frittata or savoury egg custard bake ( see here for my basic recipe );
- and are great to eat cold as part of your lunch the next day (office or home lunch as they travel well).
In fact the list is endless, but this tells you why I always prepare baked veggies so regularly.
So why am I doing a post for “baked veggies” when it seems like such a simple thing to do?
Well a dear friend recently searched my website looking for my “baked veggie” recipe, so it occurred to me that others may also be interested. There is no recipe as such, but a simple process that I follow that always works for me.
In general I tend to put the firmer veggies (potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, red onion, leeks, parsnip, carrot, etc.) in one dish, and softer veggies (zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, mushrooms, red peppers, tiny toms, etc.) in another dish. I do this because the softer veggies will release a little more steam whilst cooking and I don’t want to “wet” my firmer veggies too much … but I cook them for exactly the same amount of time as I like my veggies “caramelised” which gives them such a yummy flavour. Often I won’t have enough to do two trays, so I will put them all together in one (especially when I am trying to use up “bits”) and that is fine too.
I will also add apples (red or green) and green pears to the veggies if I have them on hand … I don’t peel them, just cut them into quarters and core them … they add a delicious sweetness, and in particular the pears hold their shape so look lovely on the plate, whereas sometimes the apple may break in two but still delicious.
Once baked I cover my trays in Alfoil and allow the veggies to “rest” for 10 minutes before uncovering … this allows steam to temper the little caramel bits on the veggies making them deliciously soft … and even more yummy! Once the veggies are uncovered, that is when I will dress them with whatever I want (extra olive oil, sea salt flakes, pesto loosened with extra olive oil, balsamic glaze, fresh herbs of choice, etc.).
Here are some pics of baked veggies I have prepared recently:
- Vegetables of choice (be creative here and don't be frightened to try different combinations as that is how I found pears and apples worked beautifully in baked veggies)
- Apples or pears (no more than two fruits per tray)
- 250g tiny toms (optional but adds great flavour and sweetness)
- olive oil
- sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper
- dried herbs of choice (i.e. basil, mint, dill, marjoram, italian herbs) or
- fresh herbs of choice (i.e. rosemary, oregano, marjoram)
- Consider drizzling the veggies with either one, or a combination of:
- Olive oil and sea salt flakes
- Balsamic glaze
- Pesto loosened with extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh herbs of choice
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan forced
- If you are baking one tray place rack into middle of oven
- If you are baking two trays place racks evenly apart (one on lowest rung, the other two rungs up)
- Wash and cut your veggies (except the tiny toms) into big chunks and place into a large mixing bowl (if you are using beetroot hold off until the other veggies are done ... see next point ... if my veggies are organic I don't usually peel them but that is a personal decision)
- Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and stir them well in the bowl so that they are all coated with the oil
- Place into the baking tray ... if using beetroot add that now to the bowl now along with a little more oil if necessary, stir around, then place them in your baking dish (I do this with my hands so that the coloured oil doesn't splatter over other veggies)
- Drizzle with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
- Sprinkle with dried or fresh herbs of choice (or both ... you can do whatever you like here)
- Lastly distribute the tiny tom tomatoes (if using) around the baking tray
- Place into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (I bake for an hour, but check your veggies at 50 minutes as it depends on your oven)
- You want the veggies to look golden with some little dark patches of caramelisation
- Remove the tray from the oven and cover with Alfoil (this will help steam the veggies and create a type of "coating" from the crispy brown bits on the veggies which will soften and caramelise a little)
- Uncover, drizzle with extra seasoning of choice and put straight onto the table for people to help themselves
- Store leftover in the fridge for a good two to three days
I will also add green apples and green pears to the veggies if I have them on hand ... I don't peel them, just cut them into quarters and core them ... they add a delicious sweetness, and in particular the pears hold their shape so look lovely on the plate, whereas sometimes the apple may break in two but still delicious.
Once baked I cover my trays in Alfoil and allow the veggies to "rest" for 10 minutes before uncovering ... this allows steam to temper the little caramel bits on the veggies making them deliciously soft ... and even more yummy! Once the veggies are uncovered, that is when I will dress them with whatever I want (extra olive oil, sea salt flakes, pesto loosened with extra olive oil, balsamic glaze, fresh herbs of choice, etc.).