Roasting Whole Veggies: A Holiday Time Saver To Keep Meals Simple

One Tray Roast

One Tray Roast

One of the healthiest and least stressful ways I like to get through a week, particularly pre-holiday, is by sticking to some sort of cooking routine - even if it means only making 1 tray of roasted vegetables. I know cooking for yourself during stressful times seems counterintuitive, but it makes total sense - trust me. A little time at the front getting some veggies and cooking means smarter choices, less stress and time saved on the back end. Knowing you can put something good in the tank and feel good about what you're eating for energy and good feels should be reason enough alone to give this a try. Start with 1 tray, you don't have to make 21 meals. 

I call this the lazy lady roast where all veggies are either cut in half, or left whole, and put in the oven .- like a happy, colorful family.

I also love to see where a tray of roasted veggies will take me for the week.

On tonight's tray:

  • Eggplant
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Butternut Squash Butts *these are the cavities I like to stuff with goodness like meat, grains + greens for make a head weeknight meals to warm up
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers *which I'll likely just house with some hummus because roasted peppers lubed up with hummus for a 4pm delight is, well, a delight

All of the above were roasted in a 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until fork tender.

Directions for each of the veggies below:

  • Eggplant: Leave it whole, no oil needed, here we're roasting it until the skin collapses and when peeled you're left with soft, roasted eggplant flesh that can be used in sauces, made into a dip/spread, tossed on salad with olive oil and cheese. I'll share what I end up doing to it.
  • Spaghetti Squash: Cut in half, remove seeds and lightly coat the rim and inside of the squash with olive oil and place face down to roast.
  • Butternut Squash Butts: Follow same directions as spaghetti squash above.
  • Cabbage: I used a napa cabbage, and I cut off the bottom and made more of a "steak" from it so I can eat it and plate it in a large slab - which I find to be more satisfying. Then I take the leaf part and roast that whole as well, drizzling each part with about 1-2 tsp of olive oil.
  • Peppers: I used baby peppers here and kept 'em whole. They were on sale, I love a sale. 

Methods to use a tray of roasted veggies are many, as I note often. They're a gift that keep on giving, especially during a busy holiday time - they're a great way to snack healthy, stay fueled and filled on goodness.

Anything with a cavity can be stuffed, cut up and used in salads or grain bowls, dipped and thrown into a weeknight fajita or quesadilla. Eat them plain with a piece of steak, chicken, fish or tofu. Do yourself a favor and keep meals simple and roast plain - you're much more likely to keep up a cooking game that way. You can always add the flavors you like later with a little sauce or dressing to make 'em dance.

More to come on the different ways I used these goods this week.