Roasting Lower Carb Vegetables

I love roasted vegetables and have been using this cooking method for years - it's a standard at Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners in my house. In the winter, I would chunk up and roast a mixture of carrots, rutabaga, beets, parsnips and white or yellow potatoes. The slow roasting brings out all the natural sweetness of these nutritious and colourful root vegetables. They are the perfect companion to a roasted bird and gravy. Plus, they are the perfect prep-ahead side dish - minimal work during the chaos that can happen in the last 20 minutes before a big company meal.

However, with going lower carb, I wanted to continue with roasting veggies to bring out their wonderful flavours and natural sweetness, but high water content foods behave differently. But I'm here to tell you that they can be just as delicious and beautiful on the plate.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about red/green/yellow/orange bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, fennel, celery, mushrooms, green beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage or onions.

There are a few tricks to roasting low carb, high water content veggies. First of all, the temp in the oven must be significantly higher. While starchy veggies do best at 350F, the low carb veggies need a much higher temp, usually doing best at 400F. They also take significantly less time to cook, 30-45 minutes, vs 60-90 minutes for the starchy mixes. Both versions benefit from using parchment paper underneath them. (I still marvel that I made it into my mid-50's before discovering the wonders of parchment paper!)

The beauty of cooking vegetables this way is that you can make up massive quantities at once and use a wide variety of different flavours and colours, instead of just one side veg.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash and cut up a variety of vegetables into largish, bite-sized chunks. The above mix has 2 red peppers, most of a head of cauliflower, a fennel bulb, brown mushrooms (stems removed), and a pound of asparagus. Place in large bowl, drizzle with enough olive oil to coat evenly (I probably used about 1/4 cup on this enormous pile of veggies), then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and a generous tablespoon of dried green herbs such as an Italian herb blend or a Greek mix blend.

Spread out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (preferably one with sides), as evenly and thinly as possible. Bake in oven, stirring them gently after 20-30 minutes and tasting a piece or two for desired doneness. Dump into serving bowl.

For added "sophistication", they can be drizzled with balsamic vinegar, but I like them just as they are. They shrink down a bit with cooking.

This enormous collection of vegetables was polished off by six adults at a dinner party that also featured BBQ smoked pork back ribs and a Greek salad. I expected to have leftovers - but no, nothing remained by the end of dinner...

Who says Primal eating isn't delicious and beautiful?

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