As a writer who also runs the Norwegian Artist’s fine art gallery, I don’t have a lot of time to cook. Despite spending most of the day 15 feet from the kitchen, I generally arrive there around 5, in a state of controlled panic, wondering what I can make that is fast, easy, inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty. There’s nothing like wanting it all.
Easy roasted vegetables fit all five categories, however, and they’re especially great in the winter when 1) root vegetables are plentiful and in season and 2) you appreciate the extra heat from the oven. As a bonus, this dish is vegan, and it makes a meal all on its own, especially with salsa on the side.
Because I use what I’ve got, this particular recipe is limited to potatoes, carrots, garlic, and onions, but if you have a yam or sweet potato hanging around, or some parsnips, or a turnip (you know, I’ve never eaten one of those things? I don’t even know what they look like, but this may change because the Son and Heir keeps mentioning how one of the items on his bucket list is to grow and eat turnips), then feel free to replace some of the potatoes with these, peeled if necessary and cut into small squares. I incorporated blue potatoes, which we grew in the garden this year. They’re firm, colorful, and a fun addition to the table.
If you’ve got beets hanging around, you can use those too in place of some of the potatoes, but I’ll confess right here that I hate the things. I never have forgiven them for draining all over the plate when I was a child and turning my mashed potatoes pink.
Easy Roasted Vegetables — serves 4 as a side dish; 2-3 as a main dish.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, halves, and cut into thin slices
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1-2 hot peppers, dried, chopped fine (optional)
2 medium/large Yukon Gold potatoes, (about the size of a woman’s fist, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes — you don’t want itsy bitsy pieces, but you don’t want hunkin’ chunks either. The larger the pieces, the longer they take to cook, and the 1/2 to 3/4 inch size cooks up quickly and maintains its shape. Since potatoes and carrots and other root vegetables are obviously not square, you don’t have to worry about every piece looking like a perfect cube. Rounded edges are fine, and at this point, there is no Homeland Potato Security Department).
4 – 6 small (larger than a golf ball, more like the size of a pool ball) blue potatoes, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes. I washed, but did not peel, the potatoes.
4 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced, or 2 teaspoons dried
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the onions and saute for five minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and saute for five minutes more, until the onions are limp. If they brown in this time, that’s just fine; just make sure nothing burns.
While the onions are cooking, chop the potatoes, carrots, and whatever other root vegetables you chose to clean out of your refrigerator or produce baskets.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan and toss in the chopped vegetables. Pour over the onion mixture, with the oil, and mix all together so everything is coated with oil. Toss on the rosemary and salt. Cover the pan and bake the mixture at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring the contents at the halfway point.
After 45 minutes, taste to make sure that everything is fully cooked, and if the carrots, especially, are still a little crunchy, cook longer until they’re soft (this is where the extra effort to cut smaller piece pays off).
If you want to make this your main dish, serve with salsa on the side (check out my easy recipe), and consider sprinkling cheese atop.
I hope that you all had a great holiday — I absorbed myself in family, friends, and good food. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get a handle on your money, I encourage you to look at my book, Live Happily on Less, which gently walks you through the small, simple, sustainable changes you can make to get more out of the resources you have. Paperback and digital at Amazon.com.
“I loved this book. Great ideas for saving money. Made me feel good about my simple lifestyle. Gave me new ways to think about life. Highly recommend.” Amazon five-star reader review.