Easy Roasted Veggies
Isn’t that the ugliest veggie you’ve ever seen? My friend brought it home from her produce pick-up this week, and we’ve been staring at it in disgust ever since. I think it looks like Minnie Mouse; my friend thinks it looks like a cat. If I had seen this veggie at Wegman’s, I would have never put it into my cart. I would have been intimidated by its size, and I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with the chopping and peeling associated with this mammoth root vegetable. It’s easy to spend time preparing sweet potatoes or carrots, because you know that the results will be lovely and delicious. It’s harder to motivate yourself to peel and chop a veggie that looks like a striped bowling ball. Plus, what if it tastes as ugly as it looks? I hate wasting time in the kitchen, and I get really disappointed when my cooking experiments end up inedible. But, I also hate wasting food, so I decided to tackle the ugly veggie challenge.
Even though I was fascinated by the large purple globe at first, it sat on my kitchen counter for three days before I even attempted to google its origins. “It’s not some kind of weird potato, is it?” I thought. “Maybe it’s a turnip or a radish!” I tried googling “purple root vegetable”, and I discovered that this ugly veggie is a rutabaga. I’m sure not all rutabagas are ugly, but this one is so disturbing, it actually hurts your eyes when you look at it. I poked it with my finger to see if it would roll over, and it wobbled around on my countertop. I looked at the pathetic veggie, and tried to come up with ways to avoid cooking it. “Maybe I could use it in an art installation!” I thought. “Or I could donate it to my school’s cafeteria!” I thought about staging pictures with my new ugly rutabaga, kind of like a vacation slideshow: oh, here’s Rutabaga and Jessie at the Jersey Shore, just getting some sun. That crazy Rutabaga likes to gamble – here’s a picture of us throwing dice at the blackjack table. I stared at the rutabaga until I ran out of excuses. Then, I pulled out my cutting board and started hacking away at the purple flesh. I peeled and diced until the rutabaga was scattered in sad little chunks all over my kitchen counter.
I was scared to taste a piece of raw rutabaga, despite google’s claims of rutabaga deliciousness. Instead, I used a time-tested method for making veggies palatable: add salt and fat! Any veggie can become delicious when roasted with olive oil and sea salt, right? I tossed the rutabaga sticks in oil and salt, turned the oven on, and did a little dance. I didn’t waste any food, and I conquered my fear of the ugly veggie! Stay tuned for further installments of the ugly veggie challenge!
Easy Roasted Veggies
I have to be honest: even after I doused the rutabaga in salt and fat, I didn’t like it. I kept nibbling the slices, trying to force my taste buds to alter the flavor, but it didn’t work. The rutabaga tasted bitter, and the salt didn’t cover up the taste enough. If you have suggestions for helping the rutabaga become delicious, I’d love to hear them. This recipe for easy roasted veggies is more of a method, so feel free to use any vegetable you want – even ugly ones.
Veggie of your choice. I recommend sweet potatoes, red potatoes, cauliflower, peppers, onions, mushrooms, or squash. Mushrooms and onions will cook quicker than the root vegetables, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Two tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional additions: roasted veggies taste great with added herbs. Try sprinkling herbs de Provence, rosemary, or thyme over your veggies before roasting.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice veggies into pieces. Sticks, cubes, slices – you can roast veggies in any shape. Use a sharp chef’s knife, and watch your fingers while slicing!
Line a cookie sheet with foil.
Toss veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Spread the veggies on the cookie sheet.
Put the veggies in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip the veggies over, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. The veggies should be soft but not mushy.
We eat roasted veggies with everything. Try throwing them into pasta, adding to quinoa or grain salads, or rolling up in a tortilla with feta cheese. Delicious!