Just when we thought winter was loosening its grip on us here in the Pacific Northwest, Mother Nature pulled us back in. Temperatures have dropped; we had a dusting of snow over the weekend, and again on Wednesday, and they’re calling for more snow! It’s like a reminder to hang on to our sweaters and mittens since winter’s here for another month.
The thing is, I don’t really mind the cold when it’s this crisp and sunny, plus I relish hearty wintertime meals, from roasted vegetables to steaming bowls of stews and soups. The later reminds me of the type of food I ate as a kid – thick cozy stews and soups ladled over fragrant rice, banku or starchy root vegetables.
We made roasted cauliflower, potato and peas with tahini dressing last weekend as the cold wind blew and the snow came down in flurries outside – there’s just something comforting about roasting vegetables in winter – and this article made me grateful for fresh produce in winter.
This won’t fit in the title, but I really should have call it “roasted potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, sautéed onions and peas with a garlic tahini dressing”. Yeah, that’s a long one. It’s just a delicious mix of veggies doused in a tangy full-bodied dressing; it’s a wonderful combination of flavours, the kind of meal that’ll really put your CSA allotment to good use or you should try if you want to cook more with a variety of vegetables.
Rich, flavourful and deeply satisfying, you can serve it on its own for dinner or as a side – add a bit of quinoa or pasta for a nutritious weeknight meal; pair it with rice, polenta or jollof, like I plan to do this weekend!
We’ve made some version or other all winter long, it makes the kitchen smell great, like warmth and comfort. While it requires a little organization for the entire setup to come together, I think this will make an ideal weekend meal with just a little bit of preparation.
I start with the dressing, which can be prepared well in advance (and used over salads, slaws, rice/veggie bowls, etc). I roast the potatoes and carrots on one baking sheet and the cauliflower on another; while the veggies are roasting, I’ll sauté the onions with the peas, and then put everything together. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables if you try this, I’m thinking beets, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.
We got fresh peas from the market over the summer, shelled and froze them, and we’ve used them throughout the year.
Finally, I have a jar of pipelchuma, vibrant spicy paste from Libya with a heady aroma and heat. I first learnt about in the Jerusalem cookbook; a dollop of pipelchuma over this roasted vegetables is so, so good…
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced or 5 – 6 cloves of roasted garlic
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup warm filtered water or more
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- Pinch of paprika to taste
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/2 pound nugget potatoes, scrubbed clean, cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 - 3 large carrots, scrubbed clean and cut into 2 1/2 –inch rounds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, divided
- 2 teaspoons paprika, divided
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 cups frozen English peas, thawed
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- Salt to taste
- Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice and maple syrup to a blender
- Blend until smooth, adding water a little at a time until dressing is thinned out but not too watery
- Season with salt and paprika
- Dressing will keep in the fridge to up to a week
- Make vegetables
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil (oil lightly if using foil)
- Toss cauliflower with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, salt to taste and a tablespoon olive oil in a bowl
- Spread cauliflower in a single layer on one of the baking sheet
- Roast in oven for 20 – 25 minutes until cauliflower is tender and slightly browned
- Using the same bowl, combine the potato and carrots, add the remaining cumin, paprika and olive oil, and add salt to taste
- Toss to combine and spread in a single layer on the other baking sheet
- Roast for 30 – 35 minutes until tender and golden, and a toothpick slips in easily
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or skillet
- Add onions and sauté, stirring often for 3 – 4 minutes until they soften and become fragrant
- Add peas and rosemary, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 – 7 minutes until peas become tender
- Add the roasted cauliflower, potatoes and carrots and toss gently to mix
- Serve warm with the tahini dressing