I’m in denial. Pesach is two and a half weeks away and I haven’t even made my menu plan yet! Uhh… Meat? Vegetables? Matzah ball soup? DE.NIAL.
Now I don’t know about you, but I find that by the time we get to the actual meal, I am so … weighted down… with all the matzah that I don’t want a huge and heavy plateful of food. Plus, it’s usually 10:30 at night by this point!
So, while I do make a brisket (yes, heavy and huge), I like to serve it with some lighter dishes. And one of my absolute favorite side dishes for Pesach is a platter of roasted vegetables.
There are a few tricks to making roasted veggies, so this is more of a “tricks” list than a recipe.
- Roasted vegetables must be roasted, which means a very high temperature to caramelize the sugars. Too high, though, equals charred veggies. I usually start at 425°/450° and bump up to 450º/475° for the last minute.
- Cut your pieces in either one-inch cubes or two-inch oblongs – these shapes and sizes seems to promote better carmalezation.
- Toss veggies with good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and pepper to taste. We go light on the latter, as I really like the taste of the vegetables to shine through.
- Pour onto a big roasted pan (a heavier cookie tray will do in a pinch) and make sure your veggies are in a single layer – again, to get maximum caramelization.
Pretty much any vegetable other than leafy greens can be roasted, but here are my favorites:
- sweet potatoes
- bell peppers
- brussel sprouts (mmmmm)
- zuchhini, squash
The more tender the vegetable, the faster it cooks. So don’t forget to check your veggies – otherwise they might turn into burnt hockey pucks (not that I’ve ever done that.) And I find broccoli needs a bit more oil than the others or it gets dried out.
If I’m going to serve the vegetables hot in a casserole dish, I like to roast sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and red, orange or yellow bell peppers (thrown in about half way through the cooking time.) Since it’s chag, I love that these don’t have to be warmed up on a plata (aka blech, warming plate) – since that always kills the lovely caramelization that I worked so hard to get.
If I’m serving the veggies on a platter, I roast them and store them individually in the fridge. Then about an hour before serving, I remove the veggies from the fridge and arrange them on the platter, so they are served at room temperature.
Finally, I often serve the veggies with a bowl of thick herb vinaigrette. My Pesach recipe is EVOO, lemon juice, garlic, and loads of finely chopped herbs – usually a combination of dill, basil and cilantro, but anything is delicious!
If you’re looking for more vegetarian Passover side dishes, be sure to check out this list of 25 Vegetarian Passover Recipes – many of which are sides.
I can’t wait to hear what you will be serving as side dishes or appetizers at your seder this year.