This meal is a very easy weeknight meal you can let cook in the background while you play with your kids, do chores, or relax! All you need is a sheet pan or casserole dish, a cutting board, and knife.
Hearty Veggies to Pick
Obviously, this is up to taste, but this meal contains Russet potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. Add a fresh ripe avocado on the side and you are done! You can go light with more watery vegetables, but this dish is meant to be hearty and is ideal for nursing moms.
- Potatoes (Yukon gold, Red Gold, and Russet make the fattiest and creamiest taste; try purple, sweet/yam, or fingerlings for variety all of which also lend a creamy texture)
- Carrots (color variety is key to a healthy diet, so pick a mixed color bunch if you can)
- Squash (butternut, kabocha, and Acron are the easiest winter squashes to find while zucchini and yellow summer are the easiest summer squashes to find)
- Onions (any variety, green onions are fun for decorating)
- Garlic cloves
Mix it Up Veggie Picks
- Broccoli and cauliflower (with cauliflower being the heartier one for oven roasting)
- Tomatoes (try small cherry tomatoes so they roast without drying out as a larger variety requiring cutting would do; be careful when serving to little ones as they can retain heat when they don’t burst during baking)
- Bell peppers (just like tomatoes, these make a delicious addition adding sweetness but also crunch)
- Brussel sprouts (one of my FAVORITE vegetables to roast in ample olive oil and garlic)
- Asparagus spears
- Really, it is endless
Fruits to Pick
I’d honestly keep this portion simple. Pick fruits in season that are ripe and easy to wash and slice. If you want to get fancy and impress yourself, then try some more exotic and time-consuming fruits to prepare. Whatever you do, do NOT forget the chocolate drizzle.
- Banana (topping the chart in creaminess this is a great ice cream substitute and can be made just like your favorite ice cream treats–Sundaes, splits, etc.)
- Stone fruits (also known as “drupes” this grouping includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, dates)
- Sheet pan
- Silicone baking mat
- Chopper/food processor
- Knives (one for veggie chopping and one for fruit slicing)
- Cutting boards (reversible are best for easy clean up; one side for fruit and one for veggies; place on a non-skid mat for safety, esp. with the little ones helping)
- Serving plates
- Heat your oven to 425°F while you prepare your veggies.
- Clean and chop all of your vegetables to the desired size. I’d recommend leaving them at least 1/2″ thick so they don’t dry out too much, but not larger than 1″ or they won’t roast fast. If your child is helping, you can either use child safe knives or a chopper (like a food processor) with supervision.
- For the garlic, simply remove the clove from its papery cover and add them to the pan.
- For the potatoes and carrots, wash and skin, removing any dirty looking areas. Never cook and/or eat potatoes which have turned green.
- Spread the chopped veggies out in a sheet pan. It is a great idea to line it with a silicone mat as this can keep them from burning and helps return some moisture to the cooking veggies.
- Spray the veggies with a coating of some extra virgin olive oil spray. Toss, then repeat on all sides.
- Alternatively, you can place these in a bowl and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over them, tossing as you go to coat evenly. This is a job kiddos love to help with either way it is done.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, toss again and repeat on the other side. If you like other herbs and seasonings, please add some! This is a great way to get your child open to new tastes.
- Pestos are absolutely delicious over potatoes and cauliflower “steaks” so give it a try by blending your favorite greens (basil is the standard) with some nuts (blanched almonds, pine nuts, and cashews taste best), garlic and a small amount of extra virgin olive oil drizzled in as you go. If you like, you can shred in a small amount of vegan cheese for that cheesy parmesan flavor but go lightly as vegan cheese flavors can be overpowering. Blanched almonds blended in a food processor are a great substitute for parmesan cheese anyway.
- Bake for roughly 30 minutes. I am going longer here for those potatoes and also an important reason to keep them smaller (1/2″ or so) in size. The softer veggies can actually finish sooner (in 10-20 minutes) but I find it is just fine mixing them and going a bit longer. Just watch for burning about 15-minutes in and remove any veggies that look done already.
- You can also roast in stages by adding the potatoes and winter squashes first for 15 minutes before adding in the others, this just takes more babysitting in the kitchen.
- While your veggies are baking, set your cleaned fruits in the fridge to cool them enough they remind you of ice cream!
- Serve your veggies warm (but check temperature on the inside of your wrist for infants and toddlers) as they will taste creamiest that way.
- For a lower glycemic impact, cool and refrigerate overnight and eat them cold!
- The dish is delicious drizzled with the pesto recipe above and/or a vegan Greek yogurt drizzle to mimic sour cream.
- Our photo meal contains a fresh ripe avocado which has been washed, but in half and scooped out of an avocado skin. It is then placed cut side down and sliced for easy eating. It is topped with a salt-free topping that contains garlic and herbs. Something like Mrs. Dash works great here.
- For infants, you can fine grind the seasoning topping with a mortar and pestle (toddlers love using these). A ripe avocado should be soft enough for any stage 2 or above kiddo.
- Once your veggies come out of the oven and are cooling down you can slice your fruit as desired and drizzle with chocolate sauce. I mean, honestly, why wait to serve this! Unless your little one will refuse veggies, it is great served together so you can rest and not act as a server. The point of this meal is less work.
- If you want more nutritional bang for the buck, also drizzle with some thinned out nut butter of choice. Be careful as this can be a choking hazard if not thinned adequately. Thin just what you need with water or breast milk or a dairy free milk of choice.