Vegetables are one of my most favorite things to eat. I say this not because I’m professionally interested in health and wellness, but because it’s true. They are so complex and interesting, and – when prepared properly – yield dazzling arrays of flavors and textures.
What I don’t love, however, is all the prep-work it can take to turn an ordinary sweet potato (for example) into the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Particularly when its in the middle of the day and you’re starving – NOW – but you know that a plant-based meal is going to help you feel your best. It is hard to delay filing your belly when slapping some lunch meat between two slices of bread would just as easily fill the aching void. I’m not knocking on sandwiches – I’ve eaten a great many in my day, and sometimes its what you have to do - but often it's not the best choice to make.
In an attempt to avoid this scenario, I’ve taken to batch-roasting large sheet trays of vegetables that play well together with flavorful spices and seasonings at the start of the week. That way I have a big container of cooked and seasoned vegetables ready to stir into a salad or fold into a wrap or place on top of rice or quinoa whenever I need a quick and healthy bite to eat.
Recently I found myself with an excess of veggies that needed something to be done with them, so I gave them a rough chop and arranged them nicely on a sheet tray with salt, pepper, paprika and garam masala spice blend, and roasted the variety to perfection. Once arrived out of the oven, they received a generous sprinkling of Georgia Gold™ turmeric powder. The veggies and sheet tray were warm enough to activate the spice, but not hot enough to eliminate its benefits. Seeing as its currently February here in South Georgia, I have a garden full of mature collard greens, whose leaves are substantial enough to act as a “wrap”. This gave me an idea: I smeared my favorite brand of hummus (Sabra, if you’re asking) on a newly plucked collard leaf, topped it with the roasted vegetable blend, and finished it off with a few shavings of pickled red onions and a fresh salsa verde I whipped up with (soon to be wilted) herbs I had on-hand.
I’m not going to lie to you – the wrap was a mess to eat. But the resulting flavor combination was so amazingly delicious, I didn’t mind licking my fingers clean one bit.
Eating vegan and plant-based doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, some of my most favorite recipes are vegan - its just takes a little creativity, and a posture of curiosity, and if you can, some time to plan ahead.
Turmeric Roasted Veggie Wrap with Hummus + Salsa Verde
You’re welcome to explore with any combination of vegetables that work for your diet and your tastes.
1 sweet potato (skin on), diced into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced into large chunks
8 baby bell peppers, large diced
2 zucchini, cut into large slices
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garam masala powder seasoning (use curry powder if unavailable)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp Georgia Gold™ turmeric powder
4-6 large collard or kale leaves
4-6 tbsp plain hummus (store-bought is fine)
pickled red onion slices (recipe follows)
salsa verde (recipe follows)
1. Place the first five ingredients onto a sheet tray, and top with the olive oil, garam masala, salt, and pepper. Toss to evenly combine. It’s important that all of the vegetables (except the chick peas) are roughly the same size so that they evenly roast. Also, make sure that they are evenly spread out across the sheet tray. If they are sitting on top of one another, they will “steam” and not roast. If the veggies seem to be crammed together, spoon some of them off onto another sheet tray until they are evenly dispersed. Place the sheet pan(s) into the over and roast the veggies at 415°F for 20 minutes or until nicely browned and evenly cooked. Make sure to stir once or twice for even browning.
2. Once the roasted veggies come out of the oven, sprinkle them evenly with turmeric powder, and toss to combine. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Take the collard or kale leaves, and place them face down on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, carefully “shave” down the tough stem so that about 80% of it is removed.
4. Spoon the hummus on top of the leaves, top with the roasted vegetables, salsa verde, pickled red onions, and (if desired) your favorite hot sauce. Grab a thick napkin, and enjoy!
Pickled Red Onions
(from the cook book Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai)
1 ½ cups white wine or plain white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 small dried chile pepper
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rings
1. In small saucepan, combine the first four ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the onion slices, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
2. Transfer the onions and the liquid to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use. They will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to salsa verde – use whatever
herbs you have and blend it with garlic, salt and pepper, and a splash of lemon
or lime juice. Get creative! Detailed below is a sample recipe I happened to put together when I created this recipe.
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients together into a high-powered blender or food processor, and pulse to combine. Pour into a jar and/or Tupperware and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for about two weeks refrigerated.