What’s Cookin’? Rainbow Roasted Veggies

If you haven’t roasted vegetables, you are missing out. There are several vegetables that my kids won’t eat raw or steamed, but they devour roasted! Roasting vegetables in a very hot oven brings out their sweetness and gives them a whole new flavor. Roasting caramelizes the outside while keeping the inside moist and tender. It is tremendously easy too!

This recipe for Rainbow Roasted Veggies is a fun way to encourage kids to eat a variety of vegetables. A diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables ensures we are getting the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber we need.

My kids are more apt to try a new dish when they help make it.  Involve them in the process from start to finish. They can wash and dry the vegetables. Depending on their age, have them help cut some of the vegetables using kitchen shears or a kid-safe knife. They will love placing the vegetables one-by-one on the pan and “painting” them with olive oil. Be sure to have your kids help choose vegetables at the grocery store too. While shopping, ask them to guess what plant part each vegetable is. They will be surprised and delighted to learn that the produce section is filled with roots, stems, leaves and flowers!

Before I share the recipe for Rainbow Roasted Veggies, here’s a little agricultural “food for thought” about the veggies in this tasty dish!

red peppers

Bell peppers: Unlike other peppers, bell peppers have a characteristic bell shape, thick flesh, and are not hot. Their lack of hotness is due to a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin. Bell peppers are found in a rainbow of colors. The variety of the pepper plant and the stage of the ripeness determine the flavor and color of each pepper. For example, a green bell pepper is simply an immature red pepper. As a bell pepper ages, its flavor becomes sweeter.  Botanically, a bell pepper is actually a fruit – the part of the plant that contains seeds. In culinary terms, unsweet fruits are considered vegetables.

carrots -dirtCarrots: Carrots are roots, or more specifically taproots. Carrot plants are biennial, meaning they flower and produce seeds during their second year of growth. However, the plants are generally harvested 2-3 months after planting, much before flowers appear. At this stage the top of the carrot is about 1-2 inches in diameter and still sweet and tender.

broccoliBroccoli: The edible portion of the broccoli plant is its unopened flower buds and tender stems. If not harvested, the green buds will open to form small yellow flowers. Broccoli is a cool season crop, closely related to cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Cool-season crops are often planted before the last frost, and must mature while the weather is still cool. Hot weather and warm soil causes broccoli to flower too quickly, or bolt. Once the plant begins to bolt, anything harvested will be bitter.

beetsBeets: This often overlooked root, is one of the sweetest and most nutritious vegetables.   Most beets are dark purple outside with red flesh inside, but there are varieties with yellow, white, and even red and white striped flesh too. Beets can be steamed, boiled, pickled, roasted or eaten raw.   Because they contain more natural sugar than starch, they are particularly delicious roasted. Roasting concentrates the sugar and caramelizes the outside.

 

Rainbow Roasted Veggies

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1½ inch pieces

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1½ inch pieces

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and stems chopped

2 medium beets, scrubbed and cut into 3/4 inch wedges

¼ C. extra virgin olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a large baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Arrange the vegetables in rows to create a rainbow of colors. Brush vegetables with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast until the vehetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Have fun and experiment with this recipe! Try adding other veggies like onions, zucchini, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, garlic cloves and cauliflower.

– Cindy

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