Food & Drink

This fall, roast veggies to reap the most flavor

The sweetness of the vegetables is offset by the toasted spices in the chermoula.
The sweetness of the vegetables is offset by the toasted spices in the chermoula. Bryan Gardner

Now’s the season to step back into the kitchen, crank up the oven and roast the bumper crop of late-harvest vegetables coming your way. Follow these recipes to create some inspired sides.

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Roasted carrot and beet tart with hazelnut-cilantro chermoula

Roasting brings out the inherent sweetness of vegetables — whether they’re sliced or left whole and layered in a pastry shell, as in this root-vegetable tart with chermoula. Roasting beets provides more intense flavor but requires peeling them raw, which can leave hands red; consider wearing gloves.

Serves 12

  • 3 medium beets (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into  1/2 -inch slices
  • 1 pound slender carrots (about 12), peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 sheets phyllo (each 12 by 17 inches), thawed if frozen
  •  3/4 cup hazelnut-cilantro chermoula (recipe follows)
  •  1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Rub beets and carrots all over with oil. Season with salt. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; roast, turning once, until browned in spots and tender, 25 to 30 minutes for beets, 30 to 35 minutes for carrots. (Start checking at low end of range and remove any that are done.)

2. Lightly brush a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan with oil. Brush 1 phyllo sheet with oil; fit into pan, leaving a 1-inch overhang. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic as you work.) Top with a second sheet in a slightly different position; brush with oil. Repeat with remaining phyllo to make a crust with a 1-inch overhang all around. Fold edges under to double thickness. (Don’t worry if some pieces crack along edge.)

3. Crumple 6 pieces of foil into a rectangle the size of interior of tart; fit into crust. Bake until edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake until crust is golden all over, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Reduce oven to 375 degrees.

4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend chermoula, sour cream and eggs. Pour mixture into baked crust; top with carrots and beets. Bake until filling is set, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, or store tented with foil, at room temperature, up to 1 day.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 170 calories, 12 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 38 milligrams cholesterol, 92 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 63 percent of calories from fat.

Hazelnut-cilantro chermoula

This North African-style sauce is also delicious spooned over yogurt or eggs for breakfast, or simply tossed with any roasted vegetable for a flavor-packed side.

Makes 1  1/4 cups

  • 1 cup skin-on hazelnuts (5 ounces)
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1  1/2 cups packed cilantro
  • 2 wide strips orange zest, finely chopped (1 tablespoon), plus  1/4 cup fresh juice
  •  1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt
  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roast hazelnuts on a baking sheet until fragrant and skins loosen, about 10 minutes. Let cool briefly, then rub off skins with a clean kitchen towel (do not worry about getting them all, just what comes off easily). Let cool completely.

2. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast cumin and coriander seeds until dark brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Finely grind in a spice grinder, or crush with a mortar and pestle.

3. Pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until texture resembles coarse meal. Add spices, cilantro, zest, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add oil and orange juice; pulse to combine. Chermoula can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Nutritional analysis per 1-tablespoon serving: 57 calories, 5 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, no cholesterol, 5 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 78 percent of calories from fat.

Roasted squash with cherry tomatoes and eggs

Get the most from your vegetables by stuffing them to make satisfying meals. Think beyond rice and bread fillings: For this dish, small squashes are roasted alongside tomatoes; then eggs bake in their centers during the last few minutes of cooking. Bonus: Roasting may even make tomatoes richer in lycopene.

Serves 4

  • 2 small butternut or acorn squashes (no larger than 1  1/4 to 1  1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 sprigs
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (11 ounces), stem-on, if desired
  • 2 teaspoons chile paste, such as sambal oelek, plus more for serving
  • 4 large eggs

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Rub squashes all over with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and thyme leaves, then place, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Add thyme sprigs. Place on upper rack; roast 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toss tomatoes in remaining 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt. Spread on second sheet in a single layer. Place on lower rack; roast until tomatoes are beginning to collapse and squashes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes more.

3. Remove tomatoes. Turn squashes cut sides up and roast 5 minutes more. If hollows in squashes are large enough, spoon a tomato or two into each. Spoon  1/2 teaspoon chile paste into each hollow, then crack an egg into each; season with salt. Bake until whites are set but still a bit wobbly and yolks are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. (Start checking for doneness at early end of range, removing squashes with cooked eggs as they’re done.) Let stand 3 minutes, then serve, with more chile paste and roasted tomatoes, and seasoned with pepper.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 258 calories, 12 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 212 milligrams cholesterol, 102 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 40 percent of calories from fat.

Brussels sprouts with oranges and bacon

Roasting is the easiest, and arguably the tastiest, supper shortcut. For this side dish, mix all the ingredients together on a sheet pan, and let their flavors mingle and deepen as they cook.

Serves 6

  •  1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 small oranges, cut in half, then into  1/2 -inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into  1/4 -inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1  1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Brush a rimmed baking sheet generously with oil. Add oranges, in a single layer, turning to coat. Season with salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; roast 15 minutes. Add bacon and roast until crisp, about 12 minutes.

2. Toss Brussels sprouts with remaining 4 tablespoons oil; season with salt. Add to baking sheet; toss to combine. Roast, tossing once, until sprouts are tender and browning at edges and oranges are deeply caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 189 calories, 14 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 76 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 62 percent of calories from fat.