What is it about a roasted vegetable that makes it taste so good? Raw veggies are great, and so are sauteed. But when you roast a vegetable something really special happens! They’re savory-sweet, a tiny bit crunchy and just a touch smoky…I could eat them like candy! It occurred to me that there must be a scientific reason for that, so I took a little time and looked it up. Sure enough, I found some answers at the Care2 website, in the healthy living section.
It turns out that roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. The smoky flavor of slightly blackened vegetables only adds to the delightful flavor! In addition to that, according to the article roasting certain vegetables actually increases the bioavailability of their nutrients, which means that your body can more easily use them. When you cook vegetables in water, it leaches away the minerals and vitamins and they end up floating around in the water, rather than staying in the vegetable. So unless you’re up for drinking the water in which you boiled those Brussels sprouts, you’re much better off roasting them. Besides, they just taste so much better that way!
Mini peppers are a wonderful food to eat roasted, and they go so well in so many different things! Sprinkled on a salad, tossed in scrambled eggs, stirred in pasta, or served in soup, topping a burger or smothering a broiled chicken breast…they add so much flavor (and color) to so many things! You can roast a lot of them when they’re in season and freeze them for later, they freeze well and will be just as delicious and colorful a few months from now.
To make the peppers, just wash some fresh organic mini peppers. Farmer’s markets are a great place to find these peppers, I have friends who schedule a few days each year to roast many pounds of fresh peppers that they buy from a local farmer at the peak of the season. It’s become a tradition, and they have beautiful roasted peppers ready in the freezer all year long. So tasty! I found an easy recipe for roasted mini peppers at the Lady Behind the Curtain blog, and before long I had a tray of peppers roasting in the oven and my whole house smelled amazing.
Just wash the peppers and cut the tops off, then split them in half. You don’t really have to do either of these things, but I figure that I’m going to be using most of my peppers in recipes (rather than eating them plain) so I’ll eventually need to cut them anyway. Toss the peppers with a little bit of olive oil, and then spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined pan.
Roast them for twenty minutes at 400 degrees, then turn them over and roast the other side for another twenty minutes. So easy! They’ll be browned on both sides with slightly blackened edges, and bursting with smoky-sweet flavor. Let them cool off, and then freeze them. Or, eat a ton of them and freeze the tiny amount left over…whatever happens to happen in your kitchen. I’m not saying what happened in mine…but it’s entirely possible that fewer peppers than planned made it as far as the freezer. Next time, I’ll roast twice as many!
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What’s your favorite way to use roasted peppers?
Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson