Recently I’ve been having people question my eating habits. I guess when someone goes from eating brownies for breakfast and Cheetos for lunch to beans and rice for lunch and veggie burgers and roasted vegetables for dinner, there has to be some sort of life-altering moment behind the healthy food decisions. Like a too-high results of a cholesterol test, declining health or tight-fitting jeans. Wait. I have been experiencing tight-fitting jeans recently. But that’s not my reason for this sudden “health kick.”
Really, nothing dramatic or drastic has happened to warrant such a change. In fact, tomorrow I may go back to eating brownies for breakfast (that was my breakfast today, actually) and Cheetos for lunch. The only real reason for more healthy eating recently is that I’ve begun to crave healthy food from seeing so many amazing posts from the healthy vegetarian and vegan fellow bloggers posts that appear in my reader. That’s it. That’s the real reason I’ve been on this health kick recently. So thank you, fellow foodies, for opening my eyes to tasty healthy foods.
A few years ago my sister introduced me to roasted Brussels Sprouts, which I began calling Brussels Crisps because we roasted them so long they were devoid of any moisture. Last weekend I had a friend in town. After heading to the Portland Farmers Market last Saturday morning, she served up a variety of roasted vegetables for Sunday night dinner. I was annoyed to find out that I liked them all – even the broccoli – because I’m so used to hating vegetables. (Especially broccoli.)
My friends and family were surprised Donna had managed to trick me into eating and liking vegetables. So this weekend my dad and I headed back to the Portland Farmers Market (where my dad and sister once saw Keri Russell, I should add). In fact, we went back to the same stand where Donna bought the produce last weekend and we chose some broccoli, cauliflower, beets and kale with the intention of roasting our own vegetables for dinner this evening.
Donna roasts her vegetables with olive oil and enough crushed red chili flakes to burn your lips off. I wanted to find a more tame recipe for roasted vegetables. The below measurements are just a guideline. Add more or less oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic or cheese to taste. Which is something you should always do in every recipe, by the way.
- 1 ½ lb broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 T. olive oil
- Juice from half a lemon, about 1 T.
- Kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl or plastic Ziploc bag toss the broccoli florets and minced garlic with olive oil and lemon juice until lightly coated. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the broccoli and toss to coat.
- Arrange the broccoli in a single layer on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and nicely browned. This could be anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your preference for texture.
- Put the roasted broccoli in the bowl and toss with additional freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
I have never been a fan of broccoli. Unless it’s in soup, in a casserole dish or covered in cheese. There’s something about the texture of broccoli and the strong taste and smell that have basically repulsed me.
However, I’ve found that roasting broccoli florets takes away the strong taste and smell. In fact, it almost doesn’t even taste like broccoli if you roast it long enough. I like my roasted vegetables crisp, almost burnt, with most the moisture sucked right out. You might like your roasted vegetables a bit more tender or moist. And that’s certainly your right. But I will urge you to try over-roasting your vegetables at least once to the point of almost burnt crispness so you can experience the magical taste and texture I now love.