I get weekly produce boxes from a co-op called Bountiful Baskets. You pay less than $20 (unless you get an organic box), and in exchange you get a round laundry basket’s worth of fruit and one of veggies.
This week I was stumped by the two bulbs of fennel. I don’t like black licorice/anise, and usually make my own Italian sausage to avoid fennel seeds. After some
You can use whatever quantity of veggies you prefer, I used:
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled
1 large red onion, chopped in large pieces
2 medium bulbs of fennel, chopped in slices
1-1.5 cups of grapes (also a basket item)
1 cup peppers, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots (leftover sliced carrots, and baby carrots that I halved)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsalmic
salt, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, Rosemary, bay leaves to taste (Or whatever herbs you like, I have bay leaves and Rosemary in my backyard.)
On a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment paper for easy cleanup, assemble your veggies (and grapes), drizzle in olive oil and vinegar, season, and tent the pan with foil.
Roast in pre-heated 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and increase oven temp to 425. Roast for 30 minutes, remove from oven and gently stir the veggies for maximum browning, roast and additional 20-30 minutes.
You can do whatever you like with the veggies at this point, they would be awesome on their own, or on a pizza with some thin slices of potato. I added them to a bag of Harvest Grain Mix from Trader Joe’s. (No Trader Joe’s to pick up the grain mix? try it with Israeli couscous, prepared as directed, using wine and stock for liquid.)
1 package Harvest Grain Mix
1 cup white wine
16.9 oz box of chicken or veggie stock
1 cup of water
1 tbsp olive oil
Optional: Garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
To prepare the grain mix, I heated a tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan, along with some crushed red pepper, and a few cloves of garlic I swiped from the roasting pan. Add your grain mix and stir, making sure it is coated with oil (you may want to add an additional tablespoon of oil or butter.) Toast for about a minute, then add liquid, reserving cup of water, bring to boil, cover and cook on med-low heat for about 15 minutes.
Remove lid and stir in cup of water, cook an additional 5-10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. The grain mix has a variety of textures to it, and I find that I have to add a little more time and liquid than package directions call for. Turn off heat, and let sit for 5 minutes before adding your roasted vegetables.
You can serve this hot as a main dish or side item, but I prefer it room temperature like a warm salad. Want to jazz it up even more? Try adding chopped pecans or pistachios, dried cranberries or cherries, crumbled goat cheese, grated Asiago cheese, cranberry goat cheese – the possibilities are endless.
The olive oil and balsamic are a nice contrast to the sweetness of the roasted vegetables. It is something that is easy enough for week day, everything can be prepped ahead of made in advance and reheated. The elements of fennel and roasted grapes make it impressive enough to serve guests, maybe even as a Thanksgiving side dish.