Ketchup is NOT a Vegetable

Everyone seems to be talking about Jamie's Food Revolution and I couldn't be happier. First, I love Jamie, always have and always will and we have most of his cookbooks. Second, all I have to say is "it's about time!"

In middle school and high school, I readily admit to living on lunches consisting of crispy fried burritos filled with who-knows-what kind of meat and beans, along with a side of vanilla or chocolate Zingers, Little Debbie swiss cake rolls or even a wholesome and delicious package of Little Debbie nutty bars. All purchased from the trusty cafeteria snack bar. And this unbelievably tasty lunch was accompanied by a soda, I am sure.

The premier of Jamie's ABC show that will last six weeks garnered 7 million viewers, which is astounding by any measurement. This proves that people across the country are concerned about what our kids are eating in school, or rather, what they are not.

So now that Jamie is tackling the problem of what kids eat...ketchup is NOT a vegetable as the federal government proclaims...would it be too presumptuous of me to provide a few suggestions on how adults can eat better, which could perhaps bring some awareness as to how our children can eat better?

I encourage you to start at your neighborhood farmers market. You'll find local, fresh and amazing tasting vegetables that haven't traveled two weeks and 1,000 miles to get to you.

Honestly, I think farm fresh produce tastes so much better than grocery store produce, but maybe I am biased since I sell Cowgirl Granola at several farmers markets and load up on produce grown by my friends each week. Lately, I've been buying loads of spinach, beets, broccoli, carrots, swiss chard, turnips and lettuce. But with spring upon us, the variety is quickly going to improve!
I think if you prepare veggies an entirely new way, your whole family will be wanting more of them. So say goodbye to steaming, boring! Boiling, yuck! And say hello to yummy.

Roasting vegetables is my secret weapon.

It brings out the inherent sweetness, can be made on a single baking sheet and requires very little prep time other than cutting the vegetables...and of course watching them so they don't overcook. Ideally, you want a vegetable that is al dente yet caramelized to perfection.

You can roast cauliflower, my personal favorite. Broccoli. Zucchini. Carrots. Squash. Butternut squash. Brussels sprouts. Sweet potatoes. Beets. Asparagus. Green beans. Parsnips. Red peppers. (Did I mention that Nacho and Guero love, love, love roasted brocolli and cauliflower?)

If you are going to roast several different kinds of vegetables at once, be sure to cut them the same size and add those that will take the longest to cook first, adding in the others later.

Give it a try and see what everyone thinks. I'll bet that once you try roasted vegetables, you and your family will look at them with enthusiasm!

Of course, I'd love to have you post comments on what you think of this new cooking method and the response to roasted veggies at home.

Buen provecho!

Roasted Vegetables
The Cowgirl Gourmet

Print Recipe

This is a very versatile method and you can roast nearly any vegetable you want. I would start with cauliflower, carrots and sweet potato as these are all amazing when roasted, so you're sure to fall in love with both the vegetables and the process. Be sure and cut each vegetable so there's plenty of surface area for it to caramelize. For example, I like to cut carrots and parsnips on the bias; I try to separate the flowers in the broccoli and cauliflower; I cut the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts off and then cut them in half, laying the cut side down; and asparagus and green beans you can leave whole.

Serves 4

1 lb. vegetables of choice, such as carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil to coat vegetables, about 2 Tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and cut vegetables and then place them on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle enough olive oil (2 tablespoons) and toss to coat well. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper over everything and place it in a 450 degree oven.

The cooking time will vary depending on what vegetables you roast. But it will range from 8-12 minutes for asparagus to an hour and 15 minutes for beets. Carrots or zucchini by themselves will certainly take less time than sweet potatoes.

You're looking for caramelization on the vegetables as seen in this picture below, so stay close to the oven and pay attention.

And if you choose to roast beets, be sure and double wrap them in foil.

Depending on the size, beets will take about an hour and 15 minutes or so, but once you start smelling them, they are ready! And they are done when a knife easily goes through the beet.

Before serving roasted vegetables, drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and enjoy!
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