Platter of roast vegetables

Vegetables are a healthy addition to a braai or any other meat-based meal. However, the way you cook your veggies can make the difference between a great dish and a simply ‘okay’ one.

Platter of roast vegetables

To make a platter of roast vegetables for four standard carnivores, you will need:

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium butternut
  • 4 courgettes
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 150g to 250g of button mushrooms
  • 2 leeks
  • 150g of broccoli
  • 100g of cauliflower
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary

As every braai mechanic knows, cooking meat is quick, easy and 99 times out of 100 a total culinary success. Vegetables, on the other hand, lack the gravitas and complexity of high-end protein, and in order to deliver their significant nutritional payload, often
require serious effort to rev up their flavour and appearance.

Cooks who take the easy way out and boil their vegetables to oblivion produce food in one
shade of grey, which is not a very exciting addition to any meal!

Roasting vegetables eliminates the possibility of this. The effort, such as it is, goes nearly
entirely into the preparation, with a little bit of extra time and consciousness required to
supervise the cooking process.

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C or as close to this as your oven allows. Peel the potatoes and
onions, and quarter the latter. Cut the butternut into 20mm-thick slices, and discard the peel and seeds. Top and tail the courgettes. Halve the jalapeños. Top and tail the sweet peppers and discard the seeds. Chop the leeks, using only the white parts. Cut the carrots, potatoes and courgettes into 20mm sections. Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, and slice the mushrooms.

2 Place the sweet peppers and jalapeños on a fireproof surface and scorch their skins with a butane torch. This will create a light, smoky flavour that will mildly infuse the other vegetables, thereby enhancing the caramelised effect.

3 Macerate the peeled garlic. In a large bowl, combine the garlic with 45ml of olive oil. Add all the vegetables and stir to ensure that all surfaces are coated with the flavoured oil.

4 Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in a large glass dish or a roasting pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the veggies, scatter chopped rosemary at random over the dish, then stick this into the very hot oven. Maintain a vigilant eye to avoid burning.

Stir every 10 minutes or so, roasting for 20 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the roasting vegetables if required.

Feel free to substitute other vegetables each time you make this meal. Enjoy!

David Basckin is a freelance journalist and videographer.