Well, kids….it’s that time of year already. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This year, let’s plan ahead. This year, let’s be the ones who have our menus planned and ready to go way ahead of time. Who’s with me?
Is anyone still there? Ok, good. Today, let’s talk side dishes. I think that veggies never really get their due on Thanksgiving, unless you are counting a potato. I’m not. Mashed potatoes are a great part of Thanksgiving, but everyone has a recipe for that. Today I want to talk about real veggies. Like carrots, squash and Brussels sprouts.
I have a recipe for Roasted Autumn Veggies that everyone will love. Even non-veggie eaters (like me!). When veggies are roasted, they get sweet and caramelized. The taste totally changes. I combine halved Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, cubed butternut squash and red onion with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper and a smidge of sugar. When these veggies are done roasting, they are super sweet and tender. To make ‘em even better, I top them with crumbled gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and candied pecans. I never knew vegetables could be so delicious until I had these.
To start, I preheat my oven to 400 degrees, pretty hot really. Then, I put about three cups of each of the vegetables that I am using into a large bowl. You can really choose any hearty autumn veggie for this….parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, etc. Just make sure that your veggies are all relatively the same size. I chopped my onion and halved my Brussels sprouts. I cheated and opened a bag of already cubed butternut squash and left my baby carrots whole. If everything is pretty much the same size, it will all cook evenly.
To the bowl, I add about a quarter cup of olive oil, two teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. I also sprinkle on about a tablespoon of sugar. Yes, I know I said these veggies get sweet when they are roasted, but the sugar helps a bit too. Sprouts can be bitter, so the sugar really brings out that hidden sweetness.
Next, I stir together a half of a cup balsamic vinegar with a quarter cup of soy sauce. I pour a quarter cup of this mixture directly on the veggies. Once the veggies are mixed, I pour them on a baking sheet and let them roast for about forty minutes.
While the veggies cook, I let the soy/balsamic mixture reduce to a thick syrup. All I do is let it cook in a small sauce pan over medium high heat for about ten minutes. If it is at a full boil, it will reduce pretty quickly to a thick delicious syrup.
When the veggies are done roasting they will be a beautiful golden brown and super tender. I top the veggies with crumbles or gorgonzola, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and then I drizzle on the balsamic syrup. Perfection. Thanksgiving perfection.
If you have any veggies left over, you can make my Harvest salad. I top greens with the leftover veggies (cold), chopped leftover turkey and a chopped green apple. Then, I top the salad with my cranberry vinaigrette made with leftover cranberry sauce. This is the perfect lunch the day after Thanksgiving. Doesn’t a salad sound good when you are still a little bit full from the day before?
Roasted Autumn Veggies
3 cups Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
3 cups baby carrots
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 cups red onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1/3 cup candied pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place veggies in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well.
Stir together soy sauce and vinegar. Add ¼ a cup of this mixture to veggies. Mix well.
Pour veggies onto a sheet pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
While veggies cook, pour remaining soy/balsamic mixture into a small sauce pan. Boil over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, or until mixture is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
Transfer veggies onto serving platter. Top with candied pecans, dried cranberries and gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle with balsamic syrup.
¼ cup cranberry sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until well blended.
Makes about 1 cup.