I love making roasted vegetables in the autumn and winter months. It’s a great way to bring out the flavor of these hearty root vegetables and keep their texture firm and crisp, compared to boiling them away into mushy blandness. Roasted autumn vegetables are a great choice for a Thanksgiving or other holiday meal as they go well with everything from a stuffed turkey to a leg of lamb – or they can even be a satisfying part of an all-vegetarian feast!
I find the secret to a beautiful roasted vegetable dish is to make sure to use a variety of colors and different types of vegetables, such as colorful purple or orange cauliflower, heirloom beets, or sweet and unusual Jerusalem artichokes. It’s also easy to prepare, and to dress mine up for the table I finish my roasted vegetables with some fresh Italian-style gremolata: a mixture of lemon zest and fresh herbs that gives it a clean, tart flavor.
The recipe that follows will make enough for one vegetable side dish, to feed 4 to 6 as part of a holiday meal buffet. You can of course increase the amounts of vegetables and other ingredients to feed more, just use an appropriately-sized roasting pan so they are not overcrowded.
- At least three different autumn vegetables (for example, a head of cauliflower; 2 cups Jerusalem artichokes; 1 or 2 bulbs of fennel, kohlrabi, beets; or turnips). Go for a variety of colors and textures for an attractive dish. In my preparation here I used 1 purple cauliflower, 8 Jerusalem artichokes and 1 kohlrabi.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced herb of your choice (chives, marjoram, oregano, sage…)
- Sea salt
- Coarse ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Prepare the gremolata: combine the chopped parsley, fresh herb of choice, and the zest of the lemon in a small bowl. Set aside. (Optionally add a small amount of minced garlic if you like.)
Wash and prepare the vegetables for roasting. Softer vegetables such as cauliflower should be left in large (1.5 – 2″) florets or sections; harder vegetables such as kohlrabi or Jerusalem artichokes should be cut into smaller dice. If using fennel save some fronds to mix into the gremolata.
Combine the vegetables in a roasting pan or dish large enough to fit all the vegetables in one layer. Toss the vegetables with the lemon juice, olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Roast the vegetables in the oven until fork tender, stirring them every 10 minutes or so to keep coated in oil. Cooking time may vary based on the vegetables used, but should take no more than 30-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and toss the vegetables with the reserved Parmesan cheese. Serve in bowls topped with a sprinkling of the fresh gremolata. Enjoy!
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