How often do you cook? As in, how often do you make a meal from scratch in your own kitchen? Not so long ago, Alex and I were the people who answered, “Never” (unless pouring milk over cereal was considered cooking, of course!). If your answer is “Never,” you’re in good company. A recent survey conducted by Wolf as part of its Reclaim the Kitchen initiative found that 50% of 18 to 34-year-olds would rather scroll social media than cook. And 40% of adults don’t cook because they’re just too tired on any given day, even if they have the time.
Reclaim the Kitchen is meant to make the process of getting back into the kitchen easy and accessible, providing practical tips, tricks and techniques to empower people to cook more. This is something we’re very passionate about, since the past 8 years we’ve spent time reclaiming our own kitchen (listen to us tell our story here). One of the secrets we’ve learned in our pursuit of cooking is that it’s really just a series of simple techniques. Once you know a few of the basics, you’ll see them repeated in all sorts of future recipes that you make. For today’s recipe, we wanted to go back to the uber-basics and talk about one of our favorite simple techniques: roasting vegetables.
Why roast vegetables?
Why roast? A few reasons:
- Roasting brings out a surprising inner, caramel-y goodness in vegetables. Veggies that are iffy raw (for example, cauliflower) transform into something otherworldly when roasted.
- Roasting makes your house smell incredible.
- With the fall weather approaching, roasting is a cozy cool weather cooking technique.
Roasted vegetables are fantastic as a side dish to the main event. Better yet, you can turn them into main dish as a grain bowl with rice, quinoa, or another whole grain. Bowls are super simple, customizable, and work for lunch or dinner. Leftovers save well for meals a few days later. While neither Alex nor I grew up eating this kind of meal, it’s now one of our favorites since it is flexible, tasty, and easy to put together.
Roasting veg 101
Here are the basics of roasting vegetables, in 5 simple steps:
- Pick any vegetables you’d like; we’ve rarely met a roasted vegetable we didn’t like.
- Preheat your oven to 450F. Roasting at very high heat makes the vegetables tender on the inside and slightly charred on the outside.
- Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, then mix them with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. If desired, sprinkle with some spices. Many times, we add some minced garlic to most of our roasted vegetables for optimal flavor.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silicon mat), which helps to minimize the mess after roasting. Pour the vegetables onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of vegetable and the size of the pieces (test with a fork for tenderness). There’s no need to stir when the baking sheet is lined, since the vegetables won’t stick to the pan. Remove the tray from the oven and cool slightly; then enjoy!
The recipe we’ve created here is a roasted fall vegetable grain bowl with our absolute favorites: cauliflower, sweet potato, and red onion, mixed with Moroccan spices. (We couldn’t resist using purple cauliflower from our local farmer’s market; it was too pretty not to buy!) For the grain, we’ve chosen a unique one: freekeh. It’s a whole grain similar to wheat berries that has a quick cooking time and a distinct, nutty flavor. You could use any other whole grain you’d like: quinoa, brown rice, farro, etc. A simple lemon Greek yogurt sauce makes for a fresh, bright counterpoint to the caramel, roasted flavor of the veggies. Topped with parsley and chopped almonds, it’s a comforting, savory autumn bowl.
Whether you try this bowl or a take of your own, we hope this recipe inspires you to return to the kitchen and start roasting! Tip: For a vegan option, try this lemon tahini sauce in place of the yogurt. For gluten-free, use quinoa.
This Roasted Fall Vegetable Grain Bowl is part of Wolf’s Reclaim the Kitchen initiative to encourage and educate on how to cook at home. For more on Reclaim the Kitchen, see ReclaimTheKitchen.com. The statistics noted above are part of a “State of Cooking in America” study conducted by Wolf. This post is sponsored by Wolf; all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors of A Couple Cooks!
Did you make this recipe?
We’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks and tag #ReclaimTheKitchen.
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 11/2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 to 3 medium)
- 1 red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 11/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 11/2 cups freekeh
- 7 ounces Greek yogurt (1 scant cup)
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup chopped almonds (roasted and salted, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Slice the cauliflower in half, then chop it into florets. Peel the onion and slice it into ½ to ¾-inch slices. Cut the sweet potato into small cubes, about ½-inch by ½-inch. Place all vegetables in a large bowl and mix with the olive oil, cumin, coriander, allspice, cayenne, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then pour the vegetables onto the baking sheet. Roast until tender and slightly browned, about 35 minutes (no need to stir).
- Once the vegetables are in the oven, make the freekeh by boiling 13/4 cups water and ¾ teaspoon salt. Add 11/2 cups freekah and bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 20 minutes. Let stand to steam, covered, for 5 minutes prior to serving.
- Mix the Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the zest from ½ lemon, ¼ cup water, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Roughly chop the almonds and parsley. To serve, spoon freekah and vegetables into a bowl, and garnish with yogurt sauce, almonds and parsley.