Christmas is coming up, and that means menu planning. The main dish is usually pretty easy to come up with, but sides are something else. There are always your standard mashed potatoes, and maybe some stuffing, but what about vegetables?
Lucky for you, I’ve got you covered with a pretty simple concoction of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes roasted to perfection, and then tossed with a few more yummy ingredients. Plus, a few tips to roasting veggies perfectly every single time.
Roasted veggies are delicious when done right, which means browned, caramelized and perfectly tender. Do it wrong, however, and you get vegetables that are mushy or watery or unevenly cooked. Not this year, however.
Tip #1: Put your baking sheet in the oven while it’s preheating. You would never sauté anything on the stove in a cold pan; don’t do it in the oven either.
Tip #2: Make sure your vegetables are the same density and size. That means hard vegetables can go together, but don’t mix something like carrots and tomatoes, for example. You can mix hard and soft, just make sure denser veggies get started first.
Tip #3: Don’t overcrowd your pan. For best results, you want your veggies to be evenly spaced, and not touching. Crowding results in steaming, which does not produce that nice caramelized crust. Use more than one baking sheet if you have to.
Okay, now that you know how to roast vegetables, let’s move on to this edition’s recipe. It’s got everything: holiday vegetables roasted with fragrant avocado oil, a sweet and sour component, tart and chewy cranberries and crunchy pecans. Finish it off with some salty cheese, and well, it just might steal the show.
Roasted Maple Mustard Vegetables
Prep time: 45 minutes
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cored and halved
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about the same size as the Brussels sprouts)
1/4 cup Ava Jane’s Kitchen Avocado Oil
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Aztec Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2-3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or other hard salty cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Put a large metal baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Toss the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with the avocado oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. When oven is hot, remove pan from oven and add the vegetables to the pan in an even layer. Roast until well browned and tender, stirring halfway through, 30-40 minutes.
When the vegetables are done, put them in a large bowl with the pecans and cranberries and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the maple syrup and mustard together and toss with the warm vegetables. Add the cheese just before serving.