Spring is almost here, in Nebraska. We are still shedding the last remnants of winter and will have cold days, even into April, but I can feel it coming. I love the spring! When I think of it, what comes to mind is gardening, new grass, soft breezes, windows open in the house and fresh vegetables. I can hardly wait! Even though we aren’t quite to the point of gardening and fresh veggies in our part of the country, we can certainly enjoy some flavorful, seasonal options for March. At the same time that I will be filing away the heartier, comfort food recipes of winter I will be pulling out tried and true favorites, transitioning to simpler, lighter ways of prepping our favorite dishes. Nothing brings out the sweetness and flavor of vegetables like roasting or grilling them. Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots are easy to find in March and you’ve never enjoyed the maximum flavor potential of broccoli if you’ve never tried it roasted. The natural, sweet flavors in vegetables are concentrated as they roast and they become succulent, delicious complements to any main dish you pair them with.
You could certainly choose any of your family’s favorite vegetables. We love roasted red potatoes (I chose the red fingerling potato type for this recipe, but any variety works, well.), carrots and broccoli, but Brussells sprouts, parsnips, butternut squash, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, fresh green beans and asparagus are other delicious options. You choose the ones that fit your tastes and season best. Scrub them carefully. I like to make sure they are super clean and then chop them with the skins still on, as there are extra nutrients in the skins of many veggies. But, that definitely creates a more “rustic” appearance to your finished dish. If you prefer to “dress it up” a little, this simple process works great with peeled vegetables, too. Get creative and make the dish work for your own personal tastes and occasions.
Roasting vegetables is a simple process. Scrub them, cut them into chunks, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and then roast them in the oven until they are fork tender. You want to be able to easily slide a fork into the vegetables, but still have them be firm, not mushy. In the last five minutes of roasting, sprinkle the veggies with Kraft Parmesan cheese and you’ll be able to put a side dish on the table that family and guests will rave over. It’s THAT easy and the flavors are THAT spectacular!