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how to oven-steam veggies

Posted by aleta under for veggie-heads, how to make...

Let’s get all healthy on your ass.

I’m not really good at veggie-centric recipes, mostly because I think they’re very good all by themselves simply steamed or roasted or even fresh. There are a few standbys for combining veggies—salads, soups, mixing them with oil and tossing with pasta—but I never come up with anything particularly noteworthy, and so here I am, writing a blog with an audience no doubt suffering from a collective vitamin deficiency. Sorry about that.

I’ll make it up to you by sharing a method for oven-roasting veggies that I found in my new favourite reference book Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini. It’s one of the few reference books that hold up against Wikipedia and Internet-at-large, and even though it cost more than a Physics textbook, I highly recommend it.

So here’s what I learned. Grab some veggies you have lying around, perhaps the hardier vegetables from your CSA share that survived the last 6 days of neglect. Perhaps also some mushrooms because it makes a nice little faux-sauce.

Let's put these babies to use.

Clean a leek.

I sprung a leek!

How to do this: slice lengthwise about an inch from the base, then rinse all the dirt out in a tub o’water by separating the leaves and rubbing out any dirt under there. Leeks trap dirt very easily, so rinsing is pivotal in preventing that gritty bite of dirt that momentarily makes you wonder if you broke a tooth. If you’ve ever broken a tooth before, otherwise it’s just gross.

The water douse.

The green parts are usually reserved for soups, but I usually throw them in too.

Next, mince some mushrooms. Toss with thyme, salt and a smiiiidge of sugar.

Mushroom bits.

Now we build the packet. Drop a teaspoon of oil on about a foot of foil, then spread to coat.


And layer the veggies.

Leeks, carrots.

Plus mushrooms.

I had some sad-looking basil leaves that were about to kick off, so I put a bunch in here to lend some complexity of flavour. Of course, you can mince whatever fresh spices you have to get rid of in with the mushroom, but I was going for subtlety for once.

Spice it.

Fold over and pinch like a turnover.

Make like a turnover.

. . . and 20 minutes later, you have veggies with dinner. I did this in the oven at 400o, but it would work just fine on the grill if you have the spare real estate beside your steak tips.

20 minutes later...

Serve with rice, meat, or another packet of veggies.

Oven-Steamed Veggies

And that’s how Omnomicon is updated after way too much time off.

Oven-Steamed Veggies
as discussed in Elizabeth Schneider’s masterpiece, Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini.

This would work for pretty much any combination of veggies you love, but the mushrooms replace a traditional sauce and lend a level of satisfaction you might miss.

2 small leeks (or more), washed & cut into 1″ slices (about
6 small carrots, peeled & cut into 1″ slices (about 1/2 a lb)
4 oz mushrooms, minced finely
3 tsp olive oil (or other oil of you choice)
a sprig of fresh herbs you like
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400o. Toss mushrooms with thyme, sugar, salt & pepper. Add in 1 tsp olive oil.

Cut two 12″ lengths of aluminum foil and coat half of each with 1 tsp olive oil. On each, layer half each of leeks, carrots, mushroom mixture and top with a sprig of your favourite herb on the oiled half. Fold over and pinch around to close, as though sealing a turnover. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

nutrition summary (1 serving, 1/2 of recipe): 145 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g fiber; about 3 weight watchers points

  1. bertha Said,

    Eating healthy and deliciously need not be mutually exclusive. Vegetables have a lot of inert flavor in them that you can let out if you cook them right. That said, there are lots of ways to cook veggies deliciously! Try the vegetable recipes at tanya’s site, I liked them!

  2. Erin Said,

    Fabulous! This is absolutely a technique I can get behind. It reminds me of something my grandfather dubbed “surprise packages” but those involved a grill, a little bacon, carrots, and potatoes. I’m absolutely going to give this a try after my next Farmers Market excursion.

  3. Nick Said,

    @Erin. I used to have the same things growing up! In hindsight, I’m almost certain that they were packages of near-spoiled produce that my Mom was trying to get rid of… I happily ate them though.

    If you wanted to be not so healthy, you could grate a little cheese over the top of your veggie pack.

  4. wasabi prime Said,

    Hooray — glad to see you’re back. Oven steamed veggie packets are like a gift for one’s tummy. I had some fish in a red curry sauce steamed in a banana leaf over the weekend. Much oms and noms for sure. I can’t always get banana leaves, but maybe parchment would work, since I think curry might be too acidic for the foil. They were actually grilling the banana leaf packets, so that was a nice way of not having to clean a grill after cooking fish, but still getting a nice, fast high heat.

  5. Dixie Said,

    What an awesome idea. I’m a hard-core stir fryer when it comes to veggies, but this is something I will definitely try.

  6. stephchows Said,

    Just got a grill for my birthday.. totally making this out on it asap 🙂

  7. Anna Said,

    I love to cook my veggies this way- especially since I don’t have a dishwasher! Sometimes I like to throw in a couple tbs of a good white wine, too.

  8. Sean Said,

    This looks excellent. This is how I normally cook my salmon, now I can just add another packet with veggies and have a full meal.

  9. Miakoda Said,

    Wow, I’ve never done this and I’m vegetarian…what a wonderful way to empty the fridge! Thanks!

  10. lesley Said,

    Well, we all need time off to recharge our batteries, but nice to see you back!
    I’m going to try this on the barbeque, I think it would work. (I’m in a try out everything n the BBQ at the moment lol) Thanks for sharing :0)

  11. pigpigscorner Said,

    Great technique!

  12. Tiny Said,

    Great recipe! I have been cooking in foil for ages. Healthy and easy clean up, too. Good for grill or toaster/regular oven. Foil is great for healthy chicken and fish, too. Check out this cookbook @ your library: Pat & Betty’s no fuss cooking. All foil/parchment recipes.

  13. DN Said,

    Great recipe! I have been cooking in foil for ages. Healthy and easy clean up, too. Good for grill or toaster/regular oven. Foil is great for healthy chicken and fish, too. Check out this cookbook @ your library: Pat & Betty’s no fuss cooking. All foil/parchment recipes.

  14. Lana Said,

    That looks very delicious! I hope I get time to try It someday!

  15. Allison Taylor Said,

    This sounds like what my family does when we go camping. We call them hobo sacks and they do amazing on the campfire (just make sure you double layer your foil and roll the pouch up tightly ashy veggies aren’t good.) I use butter and just whatever spices I have out in the woods with me.

  16. Fish Cooking Tips Said,

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.

    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

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