Just look at these absolutely delicious New Zealand root vegetables (and butternut squash?) that I prepared for Sunday roast. Sweet kumara, crispy swede, lemony oca (NZ yams), nutty parsnip, baby carrots, peppery kohlrabi and creamy butternut squash. I like to combine all these wonderful vegetables for perfect winter roast. Different textures, different tastes, they work great together. It can be a main dish or side dish for roasted chicken/beef.
The secret of delicious veggie roast is the generous amount of fat that covers the surface of vegetables and prevents evaporation of moisture. I like to prepare some herbal oil with rosemary, thyme, and sage. The garden herbs crushed in mortar release their essential oils, so you can get a very aromatic delicious oil that works much better than just fresh herbs. Why mortar and pestle? There is a depth of flavor to fresh herbs prepared this way that you just can’t get from a food processor. Herb-infused olive oil is fantastic for quick marinating the steak or chicken breast (the best with some lemon zest adding). The recipe for herbal infused oil is simple and fun.
Put rosemary, thyme and sage leaves in the mortar. Add a big pinch of salt. Salt is abrasive, it helps to grind the herbs well. First, grind the herbs to a medium-fine consistency, then add a few tablespoons of oil and mix well. If you cook at a high temperature, use the oil with a high smoke point. Grapeseed oil is my fave. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
Cut parsnips, carrot, NZ yams, kohlrabi, butternut squash, swede, and kumara into chunks. Rinse and dry the unpeeled new potatoes and cut into halves.
Combine all vegetables in the big bowl, add unpeeled garlic cloves and sliced onion. Drizzle with herb oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat.
Tip the vegetables into the tray or roasting pan. Spread them out evenly into one layer – this is important, as you want them to roast, not steam as they will if you have them all on top of each other. Vegetables roasted on roasting pan more crispy and firm than those that have been cooked on the tray.
Roast vegetables in the oven for about 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until soft inside and crispy outside, then serve immediately as a main dish or side dish. Enjoy!