How to bake ANYTHING! The easiest & tastiest way to make veggies
Since I started cooking again a couple years ago, I've tried a lot of recipes and learned new cooking methods, but my new favorite, most versatile way of cooking almost anything is SO simple and easy.
When I was a kid my mom would steam vegetables all the time. Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, whatever. She'd serve them tossed in butter or olive oil, with salt. They were fine and I ate them (and even liked them). When I was in college and ate processed, cheap, usually sugary foods, I'd sometimes realize I hadn't eaten any vegetables all day and I'd steam myself some broccoli or kale. Add some olive oil and salt, eat. They got the job done.
But, after getting some mystery vegetables in our CSA shares the past few seasons and after getting tired of mashed sweet potatoes as our favorite post-workout carb dense side... I've tested the limits of baking my veggies instead of steaming! I now know I can bake almost any veggie I want to cook, with delicious results!
(I organize the CSA programs at my work for summer and winter. I collect sign-ups and coordinate the deliveries once/week at our back parking lot. It's a great way for us to get our CSA share without making an extra trip in the week, and I love that I've been able to introduce people to the organic, local produce CSA system. But it also means I have a reputation as something of a vegetable expert, and I'm not sure I am. Last winter when we got some parsnips (my favorite!!), turnips, rutabagas, something like that, a coworker said he wasn't sure how to cook them. I realized, my answer to pretty much any vegetable is, 1) chop, 2) toss with choice of fat and salt/spices, 3) bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it's done.)
It's SO easy. No hot water to pour off, no drippy food on my plate getting cold faster. And it's SO delicious! Roasting brings out the flavor much better than boiling, and roasted veggies are much more satisfying than simply boiled.
So, here's my "recipe" for you - my formula for easy roasted veggies, just about any kind!
Oven-Roasted Broccoli (or ANY veggie)
- Vegetable of choice. I've done this with all root vegetables, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and greens (though greens need way less time)
- Fat of choice (lard is ideal - the original fat for French fries, after all - but with solid fats like lard, butter, coconut oil, you have to put it on the baking sheet/put the baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes to let it melt first. The easiest to use is olive oil or avocado oil.)
- Sea salt
- Pepper (optional)
- Other spices of choice - my favorites are cayenne powder or red pepper flakes!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop veggies to just-larger-than-bite size pieces.
- Put fat of choice on baking sheet, heat if necessary.
- Put veggies onto oil on baking sheet and toss around.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices of choice.
6. Bake for 30 minutes (10 minutes for greens) or until done. (You can check halfway through and toss veggies around to get all sides browning.)
This baking sheet (into this bowl) was 2 whole heads of broccoli, believe it or not. It really cooks down. Unfortunately this amount lasted us about... 1.5 meals? We eat big servings of veggies!
But, you can fit more on a large cookie sheet than you can in an a small sauce pan, so it's easy to make bigger batches if you have a bigger pan! (So tasty for lunch leftovers!)
Try it next time you have a mystery (or totally standard) veggie to cook!
P.S. The napkins were a sample gift from Hen House Linens, Evans print in Lantern Indigo.