Recipe: Spring-Is-Coming Roasted Vegetables

Recipe: Spring-Is-Coming Roasted Vegetables

By Jenny Osburn | The Union Street Cafe Cookbook | jennyosburn.com

It’s the end of March! I can feel spring just around the corner but summer vegetables are still a long time coming. Luckily, our Annapolis Valley farmers store a huge variety of nutritious and versatile winter storage vegetables for us. A rainbow of local beets, carrots, red and green cabbages, parsnips, turnip, sweet potatoes, squash, potatoes, and brussels sprouts can still be found at markets. And, as if that’s not enough, Taproot Farm is growing sweet little pea shoots, which are great in salads and even better fried up in a screaming hot pan with butter for just a few seconds, or stirred into a pot of peas at the last moment. You can find everything I mentioned here at Noggins Corner Farm Market and Stirling Fruit Farms.

With a few good recipes there’s no need to succumb to tired, imported asparagus. You can eat locally and joyfully all winter and spring. In fact, I’m inviting you to do just that. Reject imported vegetables and fruit that we already grow here. Give up eating tomatoes until Den Haan’s reappear – you won’t be missing anything. Realize that cabbage could become your favourite salad green (it’s mine). Buy frozen blueberries instead of strawberries produced with slave labour, and tell your local produce manager that you think it’s ridiculous to stock Chilean apples! This is the Annapolis Valley for crying out loud! Really though, it’s time. It’s time to learn a little more about where our food really comes from and the high price we’re paying for the convenience of so much imported food. It’s time to learn how precarious such an arrangement really is, and how close we have come to giving up the means of taking care of ourselves. Organizations such as FarmWorks and the Annapolis Valley Farmland Trust are working hard to help, but we’ve got to give our farmers the encouragement to grow by buying, eating, and CELEBRATING their hard work.

Here is a simple recipe that yields a far more delicious (and beautiful!) result than you can imagine for just a small amount of peeling and chopping. It’s just the thing when you don’t want to make a giant mess in your kitchen but still want to eat a celebration of vegetables. The roasted vegetables can be made days in advance, then reheated in the oven or microwaved in portions when you’re ready to eat. Or snack on them cold right out of the fridge!

Spring-Is-Coming Roasted Vegetables
Serves 6-8

You can follow this recipe to the letter or jump off of it, using whatever local storage vegetables look good to you at the market. It’s a great way to try veggies that you might be less familiar with since they all mix happily together!

1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and cut in ¾” cubes
1 lb (454g) Parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut in 1” lengths
1 small Butternut Squash, peeled and cut in ¾” cubes
1 large Beet, peeled and cut in ½” cubes
1 large Onion, peeled and cut in ½” wedges
¼ cup Olive Oil plus 1 additional tablespoon Olive Oil if using Kale
2 teaspoons Salt

6 leaves Kale, torn into 1” pieces (optional but very pretty)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a cookie sheet, toss the sweet potato, parsnip, beet, squash, and onion with the olive oil and salt. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during the roasting time. Meanwhile, toss the kale with the tablespoon of olive oil. After 30 minutes, take the sheet of vegetables out of the oven and add the coated kale, stirring to incorporate it throughout. Place the vegetables back in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes more, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and browned.