It was the first day of spring on Tuesday. Doesn't feel that way where I live. I thought, perhaps, that today's recipe would be a sort of 'last-hoorah' for winter root vegetables, but the weather in London indicates differently!
Anyway, weather-grumbles aside, I made this recipe when I stumbled upon a concept that is little-known in the UK, but should be far better established. And that concept is 'Sheet Pan Dinners'. These are preparations that you pop in to the oven on a 'sheet pan' (baking tray) and come out as a full meal. I guess it's the equivalent of a one-pot recipe but using your oven. Easiest clean-up ever!
The most common sheet-pan meals seem to be roasted vegetables accompanied by an animal-based protein. In my recipe, I've replaced the protein with chickpeas, which concentrate and get crispy in the oven and work well with the Moroccan theme.
To garnish, I've included some quick-pickled raisins. Quick pickling is my new obsession. I love how you can quickly enhance some bland raw vegetables into something lip-puckeringly sharp and sweet. Dot these raisins over the vegetables and they become little gems of tartness that cut through the dominant, warm spices.
You may be confused by the two sets of instructions below. Bear with me. The first option is for you time-pressured, get-it-in-the-oven folk. It gives you instructions for getting everything in the oven and cooked as quickly as possible. It will work absolutely fine, and allows you to get on with other things while dinner cooks itself.
Option two is for the perfectionists. I call it the 'if you can be bothered' option. Staggering the cooking times of the different vegetables achieves a perfectly crisp exterior and soft-but-not-too-soft interior. Try not to overcrowd the tray – if you can, use two very large baking trays, or three medium ones, and try to resist covering the vegetables at the sight of burning. You want to avoid steaming the vegetables at all costs, and overcrowding or covering them will result in steam. If you see the tops or edges beginning to char, do not worry. Take out the tray, flip the veg over and redistribute it. You really can avoid burning as long as you keep your eye on those veggies!
Moroccan Roast Veg w/ Chickpeas + Quick-Pickled Raisins
Ingredients: (see optional sustitutions below, too)
- For the raisins, put them in a small bowl with the vinegar and stir in the salt. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to (fan) 200°C/390°F. Mix all the spices together in a small mixing bowl, then add the oil, vinegar and syrup. Stir these in well.
- Spread out all the vegetables and chickpeas on two very large, or three medium, lined baking trays (sheet pans).
- Pour the oily spice mix over the vegetables and mix well with your hands to coat the vegetables evenly.
- Roast for 55 minutes, loosely covering the veg with foil halfway through, or earlier if the tops start to burn.
Option 1: (easier)
Option 2: (if you can be bothered)
- Spread out the carrots, squash, onions and chickpeas on two very large, or three medium, lined baking trays (sheet pans).
- Pour ⅔ of the oily spice mix over the two trays of vegetables. Mix well with your hands to coat the vegetables evenly.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, coat the cauliflower and peppers in the rest of the oily spice mix.
- After 20 minutes, add the cauliflower and peppers to the two trays, mix round and turn over the vegetables and return to the oven for 25 more minutes.
- Turn the veg over and redistribute again so nothing burns. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
Remove the trays from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drain the pickled raisins and scatter them over the vegetables. Sprinkle over a good squeeze of lemon juice, then serve into warm, wide bowls.
|listed ingredient||can be swapped for|
|red wine vinegar||white wine vinegar, cider vinegar|
|extra-virgin olive oil||any neutral oil|
|agave syrup||maple syrup, rice syrup, 1 tsp sugar|