On Fridays, we’ll share favorite recipes and tell you why we love them so much. We hope that some of the recipes will inspire your weekend food prep activities.
To inaugurate this section, we’re going to start with roasted summer vegetables. Here’s why we chose this recipe:
- For both of us the key to our sustained weight loss, not to mention good health, can be summed up in one word: vegetables. Yes, you can lose weight by eating one cupcake and six Diet Cokes a day, but you can’t sustain that diet (thank God), and you’ll feel like crap. If weight loss is a goal for you and you’re not eating a lot of vegetables, you simply cannot to eat enough to avoid feeling deprived. And we humans are hard-wired to be intolerant of deprivation. That’s why when people go on crazy diets and feel deprived, not only do they gain the weight back, they actually gain more than the amount that they had lost – as a survival strategy to avoid deprivation.
By the way, when we talk about “vegetables,” we’re not referring to starchier vegetables such as potatoes and corn. Non-starchy vegetables are the best of the best foods out there when it comes to being full of vitamins (and please don’t be deceived into thinking that vitamin supplements have the same benefits – they do not) and fiber, while being close to empty of calories.
- This is the time of year that you’re most likely to find delicious, seasonal, local vegetables. So this is an ideal window of opportunity for enjoying them.
Now let us tell you why we love this recipe:
- We’ve each found that when we come home from work or school, tired and hungry, we need something in the refrigerator that we can eat now. Right now. Roasted vegetables fill that bill for us – either cold or reheated. We know ourselves: if there’s nothing satisfying and healthy to eat, we’re going to find that lost stash of peanut butter crackers, rationalize why we “deserve” to eat them after a hard day, and then… well, you know the rest.
- You can make the recipe with all kinds of variations:
- Add chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
- Add or substitute other vegetables that you like, such as fennel, asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
- You can make this a full meal by adding a protein, such as chick peas or cooked shrimp. You can also use this as a filling for an omelet.
And now for the recipe. Enjoy!
J&J’s Roasted Summer Vegetables
4 small zucchinis (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
4 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
3 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 peeled garlic cloves, whole (to mash later) or minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1-4 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (don’t bother with dried if you don’t have fresh)
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
Toss eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, and oil together in a large bowl; then divide evenly between prepared baking sheets, spreading out the vegetables in a single layer.
Roast, stirring once, until vegetables are the tenderness you like, 30-60 minutes. Ideally, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through roasting time.
When the vegetables are done, add the thyme, rosemary, and basil (and, if you like, the vinegar).
Note: We prefer small varieties of eggplant — Italian or Japanese — because they’re less bitter and don’t require salting, rinsing, drying and otherwise making you want to give up on eggplant altogether.