A warm tray full of roasted, caramelised golden-brown veggies, sticky around the edges and nudged with flavoursome grains topped with fresh herbs and crunchy seeds. It’s such a lovely dish to put on the table when you have friends over for dinner, everyone helping themselves alongside a couple of homemade dips and some flatbreads.
Even in times like these – when we are having less friends over – making a big traybake on a Sunday is a great way of batch cooking for the week ahead. Portion it up, freeze half, eating the remainder in different ways during the week – perhaps as part of a leafy salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a crumble of feta cheese; or as a side helping of veggies along with a main course of grilled fish or brinjal.
Health & wellness coach, Sarah Edwards of Copper + Cloves recently shared her simple but revelatory five-step formula for roasting trays of veggies with fragrant aromatics. Part art, part science – the idea is to get creative and put your own stamp on your tray bake according to your favourite flavours. If you need a bit more inspiration to get started, here’s her summery recipe for a Mediterranean Veggie Tray Bake, infused with the refreshing zing of sweet lime and fennel seeds!
- 1 red capsicum
- 1 yellow capsicum
- 20 baby tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 sweetlime (mosambi)
- 10 cloves of garlic (still inside their papery skins)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 cup of pearl barley
- 1 handful pomegranate seeds
- 1 handful mixed toasted seeds eg. Pumpkin, sunflower, flax and hemp seed mix but a handful of any seed or nut will also work!
- Preheat your oven to 180C. The setting should be towards the symbol with both lines (top and bottom), and the symbol of a fan.
- Remove the stalk, seeds and white pith of the capsicums and cut into thin strips. Halve each cherry tomato, cut the onion into thick wedges and throw it all together in a large roasting tray. Chop the mosambi into 8 wedges and then cut each wedge in half. Remove any seeds. Add this to the roasting tray as well.
- Add the garlic cloves, fennel seeds, most of the herbs (save some to garnish at the end), olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper to the roasting tray. Use your hands to toss everything together until evenly coated.
- Place roasting tray in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, taking it out half-way through, to stir it.
- In the meantime, cook the pearl barley in salted water. Add the barley to salted boiling water and cook for about 20 minutes, until its soft but still with a little bite. Drain and set aside until the veggies are done.
- Check the tray of veggies after 45 minutes. You will find the veggies have shrunk down and released their juices; and the capsicums will have become a little wrinkled at the edges with golden brown parts when they’re done. If everything still looks very plump and juicy, roast it for a little longer.
- Once you have taken the tray of veggies out of the oven, spoon the pearl barley directly into the tray and really scrape up the juices and sticky bits at the bottom of the tray as you mix it in – this will infuse the barley with flavour!
- Finally, sprinkle the remaining fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds and nuts or seed-mix over the top! You could also drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil before serving. Remember that the sweetlime/ mosambi peel is not really edible – but it will have infused a huge amount of flavour into the juices while cooking. So you can just eat the fruit and leave the skins on the side.
Serve alongside dips like hummus, labaneh and babaganoush for a Middle-Eastern style sharing feast!
If you’re feeling inspired, read Sarah’s full guide to tray-bakes, here.
About Copper + Cloves
Sarah is a passionate cook and a Health and Wellness Coach. She set up Copper + Cloves to bring healthy, nourishing food to Bangalore and get people excited about eating fresh, whole foods. A big believer in the farm-to-table philosophy, Sarah focuses on working with local, organic producers and suppliers as much as possible. | Instagram @CopperandCloves
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