Once upon a time (OK when dinosaurs roamed the earth!) I used to cook by all kinds of different methods. I would grill/broil, slow-cook, braise, barbecue, casserole, fry, saute, steam and all the rest on a fairly regular and rotational basis, but along the way I discovered roasting and it has become (without me really recognising this) my default or favoured way of cooking over the years. This has been especially true after surgery and maybe it’s because it is so easy, a no-brainer since it suits virtually any food group and occasion, or gives a great intense flavour to food – which if you think about it, you desperately want when you’re not consuming too much on a plate.
That’s not to say I don’t drag out the slow-cooker for a prepare-ahead meal, use the microwave to zap something in a hurry, or bbq when the sun shows it’s face. But I have found, that roasting meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit is a great way to get variety, tenderness and that ‘intense flavour’ I mentioned earlier. For what roasting does – without you making any effort – is condense and maximise flavour. Driving off any water or moisture it seemingly distils whatever is there and makes it more flavoursome.
You can take almost any unpromising vegetables (or fruit for that matter) – winter, spring, summer or autumn mix, drizzle with a little fruity olive or spritz with low-fat coking spray, add seasoning and it comes out smelling divine and tasting gorgeous.
I have been roasting vegetables this way for years now – roots and tubers in the winter, squashes and Mediterranean vegetables in the autumn and summer, and asparagus in the spring time. With the judicious use of herbs, seasonings, spices, balsamic vinegar, pastes (think harissa for example) you can have a different main course or side dish at the flick of a wrist.
Virtually every week I roast vegetables – sometimes to serve with a roast joint of meat or poultry or whole baked fish – and often just as a side dish to a grill. Not just for meat-lovers too, topped with grilled Halloumi it’s fabulous as a vegetarian main course. Frequently the leftovers are used as an omelette filling, for a quiche or frittata ingredient, or within a grain mix or salad bowl for colour and healthy goodness.
What I am basically saying is that this is a great method of cooking vegetables for the bariatric patient since it affords so much variety (the seasonal offerings at the market will ensure there’s something different on your plate each time you cook), and it’s easy! Moreover it brings to the table some great macros in the form of complex carbs, but also fibre, vitamins and minerals.
At Bariatric Cookery we’ve called it a ‘Rule The Roast’ recipe. I have included a basic recipe in my new ‘The Bariatric Bible’ recipe book (just been published – see details here). My publishers have kindly allowed me to share the recipe with you.
The Bariatric Bible (details here)
RULE THE ROAST VEGETABLES
1 medium butternut squash or marrow/zucchini squash
2 red Romano peppers/capsicums or other colour bell peppers/capsicums
2 red onions
1 courgette/zucchini, thickly sliced
1 small aubergine/eggplant, cubed
low-fat cooking spray or mist
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh mixed chopped herbs of your choice (basil, rosemary and thyme for example)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6.
- Peel the squash or marrow, cut in half lengthways and remove any seeds. Cut the flesh into chunks and place in a large non-stick roasting pan.
- Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stalks, and cut into chunky pieces. Add to the pan.
- Peel and halve the onions then cut into small wedges and add to the pan with the courgette and aubergine.
- Spritz generously with low-fat cooking spray or mist, add the garlic and herbs and toss well to coat. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until slightly charred around the edges and tender.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and toss to mix. Serve hot or allow to cool and serve cold.
WLS PORTION: ½
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION: 106
PROTEIN: 4 g
CARBOHYDRATE: 21.3 g
FAT: 1.1 g
Image and recipe copyright © Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd and Grub Street Publishers