Originally posted April 17, 2015. Updated June 2015.
Roasting is a pretty fail-proof way to prepare vegetables. Pick a few vegetables to combine, season them, toss them onto a baking sheet or roasting pan, pop them into a piping hot oven for about 40 minutes and voilà! A delicious and healthy plate of vegetables that tastes good enough to stand on its own or combined with rice, pasta or any meat or fish of your choice.
Roasting is a dry heat form of cooking that draws out the natural sugars from vegetables making them sweet and tender. This process of carmelization draws out the sweetness while intensifying all of those magical flavors–yes, I said magical. Some vegetables that do extraordinarily well under this long, high-heat exposure include onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes and other hearty root vegetables. But, have you ever tried roasting tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, green beans or eggplant? Oh my goodness….delicious! I came across this excellent roasting chart in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. If you’re at all intimidated by the process, don’t be. It’s simple and it’s a great way to try vegetables you may not typically eat.
To add a punch of flavor, I created this simple balsamic-grape juice syrup that pairs beautifully with my mixture of roasted vegetables. I love the flavor from a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar reduction, but I wondered what it would taste like with grape undertones. After going on an amazing vineyard and factory tour with the great folks at Welch’s, I wanted to experiment with their grape juice, which is made from the entire concord grape–skin, seeds and all! Their juice has zero added sugar, color or artificial flavors and the polyphenols from this berry (yes, grapes are a berry!) play an important role in supporting healthy blood vessels. Aside from all of its health benefits, it has a fantastic flavor.
This recipe is a two-for-one. Try the roasted vegetables and as a tasty bonus, try my balsamic-grape juice syrup to up the delicious ante. And of you’re not too sure about the syrup, I’ll tell you…after dipping her vegetables in it, my daughter was practically slurping it up as if it were soup! “It’s good…I mean, it is goooood!”
**Check out my YouTube video of this recipe below–my favorite video as of yet!
This simple, budget-friendly meal with a variety of colorful, seasonal vegetables looks (as my daughter would say) "so fancy" when served at the table. When purchased in season, these vegetables are low priced and at their peak both flavor wise and nutritionally. My favorite juice to use for this sauce is Welch's Farmer's Pick 100% concord grape juice. After touring a family-owned Welch's vineyard, I learned that the entire concord grape--skin, seeds and all--is pressed to make the juice. This process maximizes the nutritional quality because the polyphenols (natural plant nutrients) are concentrated in the skin and seeds of the grape, so you get it all in the juice! Pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself.