A really good roasted veggie tray is hard to come by. Most places just don't have them and when you do finally find one, it's often overdone, underdone, or marinated in some sort of horrid flavor. So, collectively we've kind of abandoned the roasted veggie tray as an option. Instead we go for the raw veggies (that most just pass right over), a giant tray of antipasto (which is mostly processed), or the ever popular sandwich tray (don't even get me started). I'm telling you to cut that out, right now. Roasted veggies are where it's at.
Why you might ask? Because when you roast vegetables something magic happens. Peppers get to a level of sweet you never imagined, broccoli becomes remniscent of salty crunchy potato chips, and eggplant... well, you're just gonna have to taste it to understand the beauty that is roasted eggplant. This ultimate roasted veggie tray is pretty much perfect for EVERY occasion. It's an awesome way to contribute delicious tasting healthy veggies to any event instead of bland tasting ones that need to be covered in some kind of ranch goop to be considered edible.
It even works great as a gift for a friend or an event you can't attend, but make sure to roast some extras cause you're gonna want to taste this.
The Ultimate Roasted Veggie Tray
WARNING: getting great roasted veggies takes time, you'll need 1.5 - 2 hours for this whole process, but it's so worth it.
What you'll need:
- 1 serving dish (I went large rectangular)
- roasting pans/cookie sheets
- 5-6 Bell Peppers, cut into large slices
- 2 medium eggplants, thick sliced
- 4 zucchini, thick sliced
- 2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets (slice any large ones in half)
- 2 bunches of asparagus, woody bottom ends cut off
- minced garlic
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- crushed red pepper
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. If it has a roast setting, choose that one.
** Heads Up** I had 2 ovens going at once (so 4 pans of veggies in at a time) which made cooking a little quicker, but you have to be very careful about checking your veggies and making sure you don't burn them. If this is your first time roasting, I'd suggest only doing 2 pans at a time.
Spread the pepper slices evenly over 2 roasting pans/cookie sheets (you don't want to crowd them or they won't cook evenly). Toss them in a couple tablespoons olive oil & 2 teaspoons minced garlic, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast in the oven checking every 5-10 minutes. When the peppers start to brown, flip them with a spatula & return to the oven. Peppers are done when they're soft & fragrant with browned edges & skin that's beginning to blister. Remove from the oven & transfer to your serving platter.
Lay eggplant in a single layer over 1 very large or 2 medium baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, flip & drizzle the other side with olive oil. Make sure there's enough oil so the bottom of the pan is well greased, this way the eggplant won't stick. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt & course ground black pepper. Place in the oven & check often as eggplant goes from good roast to crispy burnt real quick. After roughly 5-7 minutes, flip the eggplant (they'll burn on the bottom before they burn on the top) and return to the oven to finish. Roast until perfectly golden, remove & sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. Transfer to serving platter.
Do the exact same thing with the zucchini.
Next up is the broccoli. Lay it out evenly on one baking sheet, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, season w/ salt & pepper, and roast. Let cook until tops begin to brown and florets become tender (15-20 minutes). Remove & transfer to serving plate.
Lay asparagus in even, single layers over 1 or 2 baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil & a few teaspoons minced garlic. Season with salt & pepper and place in the oven. Check every 5-10 minutes, rolling the asparagus back & forth to redistribute each time. When asparagus are beautifully beginning to brown & ends start to crisp up. Remove from oven & transfer to serving plate.
Viola! Serve your veggie tray with an accompanying grilled chicken tray for the perfect spread or just keep it all to yourself and have it for dinner ... chicken recipe to come :D