Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette

Veg is great, we know that, but sometimes it needs a little sprucing. Yotam Ottolenghi has hit the nail on the head with his caper vinaigrette. Ok so he may have originally paired it with parsnips, which are fine if you're into that kind of thing, but I thought I'd give it a go with some more exciting veg and turn it into something a bit more sturdy (and colourful).

I decided to go big on veg as I'm trying to be a bit more alkaline in my diet. For those of you who wonder what causes an acidic diet, lets just go with 'Christmas' for now. If I'm ever aiming for healthy food, it's got to taste good. Not just good, it's got to be fantastic, indulgent, beautiful. None of this sad lettuce leaf on a plate rubbish. This dish is gluten, sugar, meat, and dairy free yet it still looks and tastes fabulous (I know, can you believe it). You could even serve it to a large hairy carnivorous man* and he will love it. Though perhaps add meat, or triple the recipe.

This can be a side, a meal, a starter - the choice is yours. You can choose to include or omit any veg you wish. I seem to regularly surround myself with aubergine haters, strangely, so I haven't included any but please, be my guest.

*test carried out January 2015 with positive results.

Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette

Caper vinaigrette recipe kindly borrowed from Ottolenghi's 'Plenty'.

Quantities: 3-4 as a side

Kitchen Stuff: Large baking tray, baking paper, large mixing bowl

Timings: 30 mins


2 medium red onions
1 medium sweet potato
2 small, firm garlic heads
1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
1 courgette, cut into batons
A handful or two of cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
A few rosemary stalks
A few thyme stalks
Sea salt & black pepper
any mushrooms you have to hand

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tbsp small capers
Large pinch of sea salt
½ tsp Dijon mustard

Little splosh of white wine vinegar if you fancy


Preheat the oven to 200C

VEG PREP: Prep all your veg, I know you haven’t done it already.

Onions – peel, halve them and cut into wedges, trying to cut them so the layers stay together in a wedge.
Sweet potato – Wash thoroughly & no need to peel it. Halve it and cut into large batons or wedges.
Fennel – Remove the stalks and the hard part of the base, cut into even slices and then cut the slices in half.
Courgette – into batons
Cherry tomatoes – if you want to leave them on the vine they look pretty but are harder to eat, a lovely alternative is to halve them.
Garlic heads – leave intact and slice through the middle as per photo

OIL & VEG: In a large bowl, add a lug of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, the rosemary & thyme leaves and stalks (save a bit for garnishing). Toss your chopped veg in the bowl until all covered. Transfer the veg to a baking paper covered baking tray (helps with sticking and washing up). Use two baking trays if you wish and switch their places in the oven after 10 mins.

BAKE: Bake the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Add your tomatoes and bake for a further 10 minutes (keep an eye on them to make sure no one is too crispy)

CAPER VINAIGRETTE: Whilst your vegetables are baking, whisk together all the ingredients for the caper vinaigrette. If your capers are large it’s best to chop half of them but if they are very little then please feel free to leave them unharmed.

EAT: When your vegetables are ready, remove from the oven and drizzle with the caper vinaigrette (or move to a fancier dish before drizzling commences if you rather). Enjoy it.

 Goes really well with some lemon and thyme baked chicken if you fancy some meat.