Roasting vegetables not only softens their texture but also caramelizes their natural sugars to produce a delicious nutty flavor and lovely brown color. Even reluctant veggie eaters will be tempted!
Add just enough olive or canola oil to coat the vegetables. Set the oven temperature between 400° and 450° F. The higher temperature will quickly brown tender vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, green beans or cauliflower in about 10 to 20 minutes. Use the lower temperature for sturdy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, pumpkin or winter squash, which may take 45 minutes or more. Vegetables cut into smaller pieces will roast faster than larger pieces. Try these roasted vegetables …
- Roast Brussels sprouts and cherry tomato halves, then marinate in Italian vinaigrette.
- Deconstruct green bean casserole and make it simple. Roast green beans and top with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms.
- Complement the sweetness of roasted cauliflower with raisins, pecans and curry powder instead of smothering it with cheese sauce.
Steaming vegetables uses very little water and helps preserve the vitamins that would otherwise be leached out by boiling and draining. It’s also quick and easy, especially if you use packaged frozen vegetables that can be steamed in the microwave. Try this …
- Steam carrots and sprinkle with tarragon, parsley or other herbs.
- Cook sweet potatoes in the microwave, then mash with orange juice and orange zest. Top with toasted pecans and save the marshmallows for toasting over a campfire.
- Top a lettuce and fennel salad with apples and pecans.
- Add contrast to baby greens with pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
For dessert, show off the beauty of fruits and skip the efforts of baking when you have so much to do to get ready for the meal. Try this …
- Instead of hiding fruit in a double crusted pie, fill tiny tart shells with apple or cherry pie filling.
- Serve a medley of cut fruits on a platter. Kids and adults will flock to a combination of fresh pineapple, kiwi, grapes and oranges.
Some recipes will remain family traditions for a long time. But keep in mind that holiday favorites do change over the years and some of today’s new recipes may become tomorrow’s traditions. So, be adventurous!