Try roasted vegetables for a fall, winter comfort food


It seems that fall dropped in on us quickly this past week. I think it’s been so warm that November snuck up on me.

I often hear friends talk about comfort foods when it gets cold outside. Unfortunately, that often means pastas, hearty soups, and heavy appetizers while watching football games. Some of the foods that my family enjoys during the fall and winter are roasted
vegetables. Our youngest son loves roasted broccoli and there are so many more fall/winter vegetables that can be roasted easily and become our comfort foods and nourish our bodies.

We often look forward to the fresh vegetables in the summer but fall vegetables can provide a variety of delicious vegetables and fruits. I recently tried Delicata squash for the first time. It doesn’t need to be peeled, so it’s very easy. I cut it in half lengthwise then cut each half into slices. It was delicious seasoned with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. I also recently had thinly sliced sweet potatoes at a restaurant that were roasted then drizzled with a little honey. I’m still working on making them as good as they were in the restaurant but just thinly sliced and roasted with a little olive oil and salt make for a delicious side.

Roasted vegetables can be eaten as a side dish but they’re also delicious added to salads or a grain bowl with brown rice, quinoa or farro. Add some roasted chicken and fresh spinach or kale and you have an easy dinner or meal that can easily be taken for lunch at work.
Most importantly, vegetables are among the healthiest foods. They’re brimming with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our bodies need for optimum performance and robust immunity. It’s important to cook vegetables using techniques that preserve their nutrient content. Sauteing, stir-frying, grilling and roasting vegetables helps to preserve vitamins, minerals and flavors that can be lost with

I hope you’ll try a few different vegetables this season. Experimenting with new flavors and textures can help encourage all of us to include more vegetables in our diet and provide much needed nutrients.

Roasting vegetables has been popular for a while but I’m not sure everyone realizes how easy they are to prepare, how delicious and versatile they can be and how they supply important vitamins and minerals. Roasting winter vegetables such as butternut squash, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, turnips, etc is as simple as putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling them with a little olive oil and baking them in a 400-degree oven. The high oven temperature of roasting cooks vegetables quickly and caramelizes the sugars on the surface, creating a crunchy and sweet flavor.

Here’s an easy way to prepare vegetables:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. (Some recipes call for roasting vegetables at 425 but every oven bakes a little differently so adjust accordingly.)
2. Place parchment paper on a large baking pan
3. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. The roasting time will vary depending on the size and type of vegetable.
4. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper or other preferred seasonings. If you want to save time you can spread the vegetables on the pan and sprinkle with olive oil and preferred seasonings. I like to use Cavender’s Greek seasoning on some vegetables, especially broccoli and brussels sprouts.

There are a lot of charts available for recommended times times but I really like the one on It’s a Veg World After All by Lizzie Streit. She is a dietitian and has great information on nutrition as well.

I hope you’ll try a few different vegetables this season. Experimenting with new flavors and textures can help encourage all of us to include more vegetables in our diet and provide much needed nutrients. Below are links to some of my favorite, easy recipes and a list of fall and winter fruits and vegetables to give a try this year.

Recipes to Try:
Easy Roasted Cauliflower
Easy Roasted Butternut Squash
Cozy Autumn Grain Bowls with Maple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Fall and Winter fruits and Vegetables:

  • Belgian endive
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • butter lettuce
  • cauliflower
  • garlic
  • kohlrabi
  • kumquats
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkins
  • radicchio
  • sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • turnips
  • winter squashes, such as butternut, acorn and spaghetti

Donna Vaughn is a registered dietician specializing in oncology nutrition. Donna offers nutrition guidance to Forge clients at no cost to our clients. To work with Donna, call Janet Dees at 205-990-5367 or Ana Emaldi at 205-990-5375,