A combination of seasonal vegetables and fruit -roasted or grilled- is very common on a middle eastern table, usually served as a side dish. In my house though, we love having roasted vegetables as a main meal most of the times, so on a meat-free day this dish would be a feast by itself.
roasting vegetables- I think- is by far the best way to cook them, it intensifies the flavours and caramelises vegetables mmm! simply no other method could achieve the same result.
you might think it’s a bit strange to roast garlic in their skin or leave the tips of aubergines and tomatoes on.Well, the reason behind this –other than being extremely lazy– is that I actually love how stunning they look in my vegetable basket, that most of the times I don’t feel like interrupting their beauty while roasting.. and trust me, serving them roasted this way makes them look so appealing and much more interesting to your dinners ..
This time I added zucchini flowers for the first time!
and O my!! they looked and tasted deeee-licious
I know that feeding kids roasted vegetables for dinner could be quite challenging, but it’s really important to get the kids excited about their veggies, I started this challenge by getting them to help me prepare them. My little one has managed now to master the skill of drizzling olive oil on veggies and seasoning them with salt and cracked pepper just before they go in the oven. It’s his job and no one else now dares to do it when he’s around.
In this recipe you could add and subtract according to your taste, you could substitute zucchini with red or yellow capsicum for example.
With the zucchini, if you cannot find the zucchini flowers by all means use regular zucchini, but do me a favour! if you are using regular size zucchini, cut each one in quarters lengthwise, cutting off and discarding the soft and seedy part of each quarter -it makes zucchini quit soggy when cooked-then roast with the rest of the veggies.
This way the zucchini won’t be soggy and the kids will find it more interesting – hopefully!
Use your barley cooking water to make my healthy drink click this link to get the recipe
Bon a petit
- roasted vegetables
- 10 medium size zucchini flowers (alternatively use 4 regular small zucchini cut in quarters lengthwise and seeded)
- 2 medium red onions, cut into thin wedges
- 6 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
- about 15-18 tablespoons of regular olive oil for roasting
- 8 aubergines, cut in halves lengthwise, keep the crown (tip) intact.
- 2 tablespoons of sea salt to sprinkle on raw aubergine
- 800 g mixed colours cherry/grapes tomatoes
- 3 long red chilli peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded (optional)
- 3 teaspoons of sea salt,1 sprinkled on each vegetable tray and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- 1 tablespoon of Zaatar mix and extra for serving (available at middle eastern stores, alternatively you can use fresh thyme leaves)
- 200 grams Greek goat's fetta cheese
- 2 cups good quality pearl barley
- 1 small bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped coarsely (reserve a couple of leaves for garnish)
- 1 handful (1/3 cup) toasted pine kernels
- 4 soft roasted garlic, squashed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice and zest of a lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon organic raw honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- cracked pepper to taste
- left over juices in roasted vegetables trays
- preheat oven to 200 degrees C/180 degrees C fan forced
- add pearl barley to 10-12 cups of boiling water and gently boil uncovered for 30 mins or until al dente.
- wash and pat dry your vegetables, separate flowers from the stems and discard the inside of the zucchini flowers as shown above and cut aubergines in halves lengthwise.
- sprinkle aubergine with a generous amount of sea salt, mix well to ensure equal distribution and leave for 15-20 mins, or until the aubergine sweat.
- line 3 large trimmed oven trays with baking paper.
- arrange tomatoes and peppers on first prepared tray, drizzle with 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Roast in hot oven for 10-15 mins or until tender.
- while tomatoes are roasting and aubergine are sweating, add fetta cheese, zaatar mix and 2 table spoons of regular olive oil to a bowl and mix well.
- gently open each zucchini flower's petals and fill with 1 teaspoon of fetta cheese mix, wrap petals around filling and gently twist the tip to seal. Repeat with rest of flowers.(reserve some fetta cheese for serving)
- arrange zucchini flowers, stems and onion wedges on the second prepared oven tray, drizzle with 4-5 tablespoons of regular olive oil, tossing to coat, season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, set aside for a min
- back to aubergines
- rinse aubergines under cold water to get rid of extra salt, then dry with a towel.
- arrange aubergines and garlic cloves on the third prepared oven tray, drizzle with 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil, tossing to coat well, place them cut side facing down and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- now, your tomatoes should be ready, replace it with the 2 other vegetables trays trays and roast for about 20-30 mins or until aubergine are soft and skin starts to wrinkle. set trays aside to cool down
- refresh hot cooked barley under cold running water, then drain well.
- add mint leaves and pine nuts to cold barley in a bowl and stir.
- to make the dressing, put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine together.(using 4 of the roasted garlic cloves and the roasted vegetables juices for extra flavour)
- add dressing to barley bowl and gently toss to combine.
- taste to see if a pinch of salt is needed, then garnish with extra fresh mint leaves.
- arrange all roasted vegetables in a large serving plate, sprinkle with extra Zaatar and crumble reserved fetta cheese mix on top.
- *you could use an oven proof serving tray to reheat vegetables in the oven for 5 mins before serving or you could serve cold.
- don't let the barley cooking water go to waste and make a healthy drink. check out my barley water drink recipe in blog archive