Grilled or oven-roasted vegetables are easy to prepare and are good, healthy food. Roasting vegetables is a quick and easy way to add variety to any meal, whether it’s roasted in the oven, on the stovetop, or on a grill.
Many vegetables are delicious plain, with no seasoning at all. This is especially true for those of us who enjoy the taste of raw or steamed vegetables. Slow roast vegetables add a different texture and enhance flavor, especially bland foods like cauliflower or some squash.
Salt and pepper can be added to any vegetable to enhance the flavor. However, with many low sodium diets, we have to find other ways to improve flavor. A great way to add flavor without compromising nutritional value is to add herbs while cooking vegetables.
Here are some herbs and seasonings that I have found to be good additions to roasted vegetables.
1. Garlic – a widely used herb and will complement many vegetables if used in moderation. A light pinch of garlic is especially good on grilled zucchini or other squash.
2. Basil – an aromatic green leaf, a member of the mint family. Basil is a great addition to any dish with tomatoes and works well on roasted tomatoes.
3. Celery seed – ground or whole, has a strong celery flavor. Too much can create a “spicy” spice effect. Celery seeds are good on their own or in combination with other herbs.
4. Marjoram – gray green herb of the mint family, flavor similar to oregano but milder. While we enjoy oregano in foods like spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna, it can be too strong for vegetables. The marjoram will give a similar flavor without being too strong.
5. Parsley – smooth and delicate flavor. Chopped fresh parsley adorns a plate of roasted vegetables. Adding parsley to vegetables while cooking brings out the flavor of this herb. Keep a few sprigs of fresh parsley to decorate the plate.
6. Rosemary – very aromatic leaf resembling pine needles, strong flavor. Rosemary has a very strong and distinct flavor; you’ll want to use it sparingly at first.
7. Chili Powder – Chili powder is a blend of cumin, chili, oregano, and allspice. It may surprise you to see this on a list of vegetable seasonings. If your family likes spicier foods, consider sprinkling some chili powder on your veg just before serving.
A word of warning: Use herbs and seasonings sparingly so that the true flavor of the vegetables comes out. As you cook more with herbs, you will determine which flavors your family enjoys and learn to use them more or less accordingly.
Grilled and roasted vegetables are easy to prepare, nutritious, and provide fantastic variety to an otherwise ho-hum meal. Hope you join me in trying new ways to fix your favorite foods and use herbs and spices.