Tag: winter

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Vegetables

I feel like I’ve been eating a lot of soup lately, and getting a little bored.  I am not really craving salads either.  But I have to bring more vegetables into my diet somehow to balance holiday indulgences.

I decided to roast a big batch of vegetables this week, and luckily found some good sales on produce.  I bought an onion, zucchini, carrots, baby bella mushrooms, trimmed green beans, and grape tomatoes.  Most of these aren’t seasonal or local, but some days you just do the best you can.



Sometimes I use a soup mix packet to season the vegetables prior to roasting.  But that seemed silly since I have a well-stocked spice cabinet.  I did some Internet research, found a few good recipes, compared the ingredients to the spices I had on hand, and ended up with the recipe below.  I was able to use at least one local ingredient; the honey is from a beekeeper that I know personally!

After being roasted for almost an hour, the vegetables had a very rich flavor, and the juice from the mushrooms and tomatoes created a sauce.  Although the recipe contains a touch of cinnamon and honey, the sweet taste is very faint, and just offsets the spiciness of the chili powder and cayenne.

You can serve the vegetables (with a slotted spoon!) alongside any meal, or you could mix them into a dish of whole wheat pasta.  I am sure they would also be good on top of whole wheat pizza dough, or perhaps a baked potato.  The possibilities are endless, and it feels good to have a dish of vegetables that I’ll be happy to dig into all week long.



Sweet and Spicy Roasted Vegetables

1 Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
2 zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
1 (8 oz.) package baby bella mushrooms, cleaned
2 pints grape tomatoes
8 oz. baby carrots
2 T olive oil
1 T honey
1 t chili powder
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Place vegetables in a large bowl.  Add oil and honey, and stir to coat.  In a small bowl, mix spices.  Toss spices with vegetables, and stir to coat.

Place in a large baking dish coated with cooking spray, and bake at 400F for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.   (The best way to roast vegetables is in a single layer; inevitably I always have too many vegetables for that though!)

Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

This week has been a bit “wintery” and no winter week is complete without using the crockpot.  I was inspired by this recipe for Slow Cooker Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup, published by Healthy Food Guide in New Zealand.  Normally I don’t like crockpot recipes that require you to saute ingredients beforehand, but I made an exception here.   I am glad I did, because this was a very rich and flavorful soup.

Normally I also make soups that are one-pot meals, but I made another exception.  I paired this soup with a container of Greek yogurt to add some protein and make it a meal, but it would also be a nice first course for any dinner.



Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

1 T canola oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced
1 t minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 large potato, peeled and cut in 1″ chunks
5 carrots, peeled and cut in 1″ slices
3 c. vegetable broth
3 T flour
2 t paprika
1 t curry

Heat canola oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion and garlic until lightly brown, and place the cooked onions in the crockpot.  Add pumpkin, potato, and carrots to the crockpot.  In a small bowl, whisk together broth, flour, paprika, and curry.  Pour liquid over vegetables in the crockpot.  Cook on High for 6 hours.  Mash carrots and potatoes with a potato masher.  Stir well and serve.

-Adapted from Healthy Food Guide

Beet Walnut Dip

I was craving beets again already after the delicious ones we roasted on Christmas Day, and then I spotted this recipe for a Beet Walnut Dip.  While dips are great for a party, or the occasional casual meal, it made more sense for me to put it in a wrap.  So I went ahead and made a wrap on lavash with fresh spinach and fat free feta.  FAIL.  By lunchtime, I had a purple mess on my hands because it soaked through the lavash.

So, I went back to using it as a dip, and even put a spoonful on a hot bowl of pasta.  No matter how you use this, you’ll like the fresh flavor and creamy texture.  It’s cheerfully bright, which is quite welcome this time of year!




Beet Walnut Dip

1 lb. beets
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 c. chopped walnuts

Scrub beets, and boil for 45-60 minutes until fork tender.  Drain and peel skins.  Quarter beets, and place in food processor.  Add oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and walnuts.  Process until smooth, adding a splash more lemon juice if needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

-Adapted from Disney Family.com

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Remember those colorful salads packed with local vegetables from the Farmer’s Market in August?  Those were great, I know.   But I saw this recipe for a Roasted Root Vegetable salad which is more realistic for this time of year.

You can use whatever vegetables happen to be available, but make sure to roast them until they are tender.  When they cool to room temperature, toss them with your favorite salad dressing for even more flavor.  I used the Easy Honey Mustard Dressing recipe, which is equal parts oil, lemon juice, honey, and mustard.  That’s it, nothing complicated, just another way to enjoy a bowl of vegetables.


Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

4 shallots, peeled and halved
3 c. butternut squash cut into 1″ pieces
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
2 T canola oil
Salt and Pepper
Dressing of your choice, such as Honey Mustard

Mix vegetables with oil in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400F for 45-50 minutes, or until tender.  Cool to room temperature, and toss with salad dressing.

Roasted Root Vegetable Megamix

In addition to the Brussels sprouts, Jamie Oliver inspired the roasted root vegetable megamix that we enjoyed on Christmas Day.  I figured it would be easy to get local (Connecticut) root vegetables to use in the recipe.  Our first stop was the Billings Forge Farmer’s Market in Hartford, where we were able to purchase a nice bunch of carrots.  One of the vendors also offered beet greens, but unfortunately did not have beets or turnip available.  Our next stop was the Wethersfield Winter Farmer’s Market, which did not really have any produce for sale.  We did buy some fresh lemon thyme though, and incorporated the herb into the recipe.  After stopping at two different grocery stores, we had turnips, beets, and parsnips and were ready to roll.



First, we parboiled the parsnips, carrots, and turnips for about 7-8 minutes in a large pot.  We parboiled the beets for close to 30 minutes in a separate pan.  Then, each vegetable was mixed with the ingredients listed below, and placed in a homemade foil compartment.

Carrots: olive oil, salt, pepper, juice of 1/2 orange, dried rosemary
Parnsnips: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash of white vinegar, fresh lemon thyme
Beets: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash balsamic vinegar, dried oregano
Turnips: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash red vinegar, dried crushed bay leaves


Finally, we roasted the vegetables at 375F for about 45 minutes and mixed them together to serve.


The real benefit to this method is that each vegetable tastes unique, but complements the other vegetables.  The beets were my favorite, with a nice flavor from the balsamic vinegar and oregano.  My second favorite though were the parsnips which were roasted with the lemon thyme.  While this recipe was a little labor intensive, it was fun to experiment .  Root vegetables are going to be in season for a while, so there’s plenty of time to try some combinations and see what you like best!