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Spicy Mixed Veggies for a Crowd

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Roasted mixed veggies for crowdWhen you attend a meal where a dozen or more folks will be sitting around the table (or on couches or benches) chances are there will be a vegan or two in the crowd.

We served these at a large gathering recently and it wasn’t just the vegans who enjoyed the flavors, but pretty much everyone at the table.

The work factor: Some washing and trimming of vegetables will take a little time, but the results justify the labor!  The spices really boost the flavors and the blend of whole seeds can be made easy work in a spice blender. Toasting the vegetables brings out their scent and flavor and really turn what are very good roast vegetables into something special.

Spicy Mixed Veggies for a Crowd

Spice blend, all whole spices, freshly ground: 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole allspice; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coriander seeds; 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds; 1  1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds; 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoon olive oil for frying, plus more for drizzling on vegetables before serving
4-5 large cloves garlic, trimmed and sliced into slivers, but not too thin (if you really like garlic, use a couple more cloves)
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and pulled apart into small florets
1 large bag baby Brussels sprouts, stem end trimmed off, heads sliced in half lenthwise
1 1/2 -2 pounds pounds asparagus, trimmed (break off bottom of the asparagus where it naturally breaks, which leaves the tender part of the stem and spear)
1 large or two medium red bell peppers, trimmed and cut into 2-3-inch slices, about 1/4 inch wide
1 bag trimmed haricots verts. Trim off the “tails,” then blanch for a minute or two in boiling water, drain and cool in cold water
2 pints grape tomatoes, or other small tomatoes, rinsed
More olive oil, as needed
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After grinding spices, fry in the butter over low-medium heat in a saute pan; let them sizzle but don’t burn butter, for a minute or so. Set aside.

Place trimmed cauliflower and trimmed Brussels sprouts in large bowl and toss with some of the olive oil. Spread on a large bake sheet so they are in one layer. Put in the heated oven. Let them roast until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and the Brussels sprouts are just tender (15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, toss together the asparagus cuts and red pepper slices in on layer on another bake sheet. Put this sheet in after you take out the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Roast until the asparagus is just tender. Take out bake sheet and pour the asparagus and pepper mix onto the tray with the cauliflower.  (Obviously, if you have two ovens, this will take a little less time!)

Put the haricots verts into a steamer pan on top of the stove and steam for 5 minutes or so. They won’t be quite tender. Drain them, then toss in a little olive oil and put on the bake sheet with the garlic and put in the oven until the garlic begins to brown and is tender. (The beans should be tender-firm to the bite) Put the green beans and garlic with the rest of the vegetables. Put all of the veggies into a big bowl and pour over the spice mix and toss everything carefully with your hands.

Finally, pour a little olive oil over the tomatoes and put them on a bake sheet in the oven until they are just to the point where some of the skins are popping. When it is time to serve, put the tomatoes into the bowl with the other vegetables, drizzle over a little more olive oil and add some salt, to taste and very gently toss the tomatoes into the other vegetables. They are ready to serve, or you can serve them room temperature.

The best way to serve this dish is with a couple over very large spoons (such as cooking spoons) or tongs.

15-18 servings or more

From Bonnie Walker





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