Sunday afternoons (or even Saturday) are the perfect time to get ahead for weeknight meals. Last night I made a big batch of braised beef and roasted root vegetables. The root vegetables are great as leftovers on their own, but they can also stretch into a variety of easy meals during the week. Most of the work is already done for you when you roast in advance. Start with a variety of root vegetables, or a single root. I like a a mix. Potatoes, carrots, radishes, rutabaga, kohlrabi, beets, turnips, celeriac, and winter squash will all work. Scrub them clean, peel, and chop into uniform pieces. If your kids like to help in the kitchen this is a great way to keep them busy. You can roast large hunks or small cubes, larger pieces will take longer. You’ll want to pick a roasting temp between 400° – 450°F. This will give your vegetables a nice caramelization. Toss the chopped vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can add a few cubes of butter, herbs, or spice mixes like Old Bay or Herbamare. I usually stick with olive oil, salt, pepper and a pat of butter. Then I can flavor the leftovers in different ways. Roast the vegetables for 40 – 50 minutes, stirring the pan halfway through. Enjoy for dinner, cool the leftovers, and store in the refrigerator for leftover meals.
- Stew. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a stockpot and sweat an a diced onion. Add a can of diced or stewed tomatoes; a few cups of roasted vegetables, and a splash of water or stock if necessary. If you want a smoky flavor add a pinch of smoked paprika. Vegetarians can add cooked or canned chickpeas, omnivores cubed, cooked sausage. Simmer until everything is warm and thickened. Serve over rice or pasta.
- Soup. Warm up a quart (4 cups) or more of vegetable or chicken stock. Add a few cups of root vegetables, and about a 1/2 cup of milk or coconut milk. Purée the soup and season to taste. Or chop your roasted roots into small uniform pieces, and add to chicken noodle or vegetable soups.
- Salad. Make a dinner or lunch salad topped with roasted root vegetables, soft cheese, and toasted nuts or seeds. Check our recipe for inspiration.
- Brunch. Reheat roasted root vegetables as is or dice them into a hash. Serve in a bowl topped with a fried egg and hot sauce.
- Frittata. Use roasted root vegetables as the base of a savory frittata. Heat an even layer of roasted roots in a cast iron skillet. Whisk 6 – 8 eggs with a splash of milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the root vegetables and cook over medium heat. While the frittata cooks on the stove top, run a spatula along the sides as the eggs set. When the sides and bottom are mostly set, finish the frittata in the oven. Serve cut in wedges.
- Pot pie. If you have a container of roasted root vegetables kicking around your fridge, all you need to do is add gravy and shredded chicken or turkey (if you’re an omnivore). Cover with pastry or even just store bought puff pastry. Here’s our favorite recipe, or experiment and see what you come up with.
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