This flexible and forgiving recipe is really more of a technique than a scripted recipe. It’s a basic hot oven roast of hearty vegetables that have been liberally seasoned and allowed to cook until they are creamy on the inside and crunchy, golden on the outside. My friend Lisa, one of the best cooks I know, introduced these to me years ago and they have been a favorite ever since. For holidays or Tuesdays….they are delicious, versatile and scrumptious as leftovers.
The beauty of this recipe its that you can customize the ingredients to your liking. Any variety of root vegetable, hearty squash or starchy tuber can be used. If butternut squash is your favorite, lean heavily there. If you dislike rutabaga, skip it – no problem. If you like turnips (and special kuddos to you if you do….you’ll notice they are missing from my suggestion list), toss ’em in!
The veggies can be prepped and seasoned a few days before cooking. They keep well in plastic baggies in the fridge, which makes them a perfect option for a holiday meal.
The key is not so much the variety of vegetables, as it is in the preparation. Two factors are critical; cutting all the vegetables to a similar size to ensure they cook at the same rate and not crowding your sheet pan, thereby allowing air to flow around each piece, producing brown and crispy edges.
And because leeks are more tender than the root vegetables they need less time to cook. Adding them for only the last 15 minutes of roasting allows them to soften, while still retaining their shape and color. If you prefer, onions can be substituted. Simply cut them in wedges, similar size to the other vegetables and add them from the beginning. Take care not to stir or manipulate onions wedges too much or the layers will separate and burn.
If preparing these for the holidays, they can even go in after the meat comes out of the oven. By the time the gravy is made and the bird has been carved they are ready to plate and go. A quick sprinkle of salt and pepper or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is all you need to make these shine!
- 2 sheet trays
- 4-5 lbs. assorted root vegetables ex: carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potato or butternut squash, tri-color carrots, yams, etc.
- 2-3 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and cut into 1/2" slices
- 4-5 Tbsp oil, plus 1 tsp ex: grapeseed, avocado, olive oil (not Extra-virgin)
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, enough to create 2 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- salt and pepper
- Peel and cut root vegetables into similar size pieces (1.5"- 2" inch pieces work well)
- If making ahead, divide vegetables (omitting leeks) into 2 large freezer plastic bags (1 gallon size). If preparing the vegetables right before cooking, combine them all in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine oil, garlic and rosemary and pour over vegetables. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. If making ahead, distribute oil combination evenly between bags of vetebales, season, seal and shake bags slightly to distribute oil and seasoning throughout.
- Bagged vegetables can be stashed in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- To roast, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread root vegetables evenly onto 2 large baking sheet trays. Do not crowd vegetables and avoid including any juices that have accumulated- they will cause the vegetables to steam rather than roast.
- Roast in hot oven for 30 minutes. When vegetables are starting to brown lighlty and softening, toss leeks in a teaspoon of oil and add them on top of root vegetables.Roast another 15 minutes or until vegetables are browned around the edges and softened throughout.
- Remove from oven and check for seasoning. If needed, sprinkle additional salt and pepper immediately after removing from the oven.
- Serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and are wonderful in tossed salads.