Sometime I celebrate my annual holiday in the US by making questionable kitchen purchases to bring back to Thailand.
For example, a size large “Mediteranean Sea Salt Grinder” – sea salt plus herbs like rosemary, oregano & thyme packed into a glass spice grinder – now in residence on my countertop is something I purchased in Denver at a fancy food shop in a mall. For quite awhile it added zero value to my life. This is not because I neglected it, but because every time I twisted the grinder mechanism, barely a speck dropped out the bottom. Stubborn, I continued to crank away on the thing whenever I made eggs (nearly daily) or needed a salty add-in (basically daily) to food. After a few moments of these wrist workouts, I would drop it and reach for the easily accessible sea salt I keep in a jar next to the fancy, though clearly stingy, “Mediterranean Sea Salt Grinder.” Finally after about 2 years (#stubborn) I think enough space was finally eked out to provide some give, and the fancy grinder really began to deliver. Nowadays, it is my go-to seasoning salt for many things, but especially for roasted veggies.
The thing with roasted veggies is that they are so simple to make that they are easy to overlook as a meal option. This is a mistake though because roasting, in my opinion, bring out the best in veggies. They become slightly sweet with crispy edges. I appreciate that it is much easier to control the risk of burn when oven roasting vs grilling (= roasting handles a neglectful cook slightly better than grilling. Still, I have learned to always use a timer). I’ll roast any veggies, but especially root vegetables that are easy to find in Thailand such as carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and Japanese sweet potatoes. But broccoli, okra, onions, shitake mushrooms and cauliflower are also regulars on my sheet pan. Basically whatever veggies I have lying around are liable to get tossed into the mix, PLUS Japanese sweet potatoes, as they go with everything. Sometime I get fancy and toss some pitted olives onto the pan as well.
It’s totally uncomplicated and satisfying to prepare veggies this way. Of course, you still have to wash and chop them; in this way they are more labor-intensive than a piece of meat and asparagus on a grill pan. But aside from that, this is one of the highest value bang for your time dishes you can make.
You do need an oven, which is far from mandatory in Thai kitchens.
It doesn’t matter though if you don’t have your own “Mediterranean Sea Salt Grinder.” You will still achieve amazing results in Thailand or anywhere roasting veggies at a high temp, well-seasoned, with coconut (or avocado) oil.
And that is something to celebrate.
I always make more than one batch at a time because, although they will lose crispy factor, they keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days. Aside from eating them solo, they are easy add-ins to everything from eggs to salads, making it convenient to create simple, delicious meals at a moment's notice.
- 4 cups Mixed veggies like sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, Jerusalem artichokes, cauliflower, onion, okra, carrots and beets cut in about 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. For okra, chop off the tops and slice them vertically in half.
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
- 4-5 tsp sea salt and dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil and
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Tossed veggies in a large bowl with enough coconut oil to coat well. Add in the salt and herbs. Roast 20 minutes. Stir. Roast another 20 minutes and check them. Remove any that are done (for the others it should not take more than 5 more minutes) or if they are all done - you want them crispy on the edges in the case of broccoli, okra and sweet potatoes - slide them onto a plate and enjoy.