The great discovery of the late 20th Century in Scotland was that vegetables taste a whole lot better roasted in a hot oven rather than boiled to oblivion in heavily salted water. COP 26 next month will challenge us all to cut meat from our diet at least 2 days a week. The spiralling cost of beef, lamb and pork is another valid reason to do so.

You can successfully roast almost any root vegetable, potatoes spring to mind! The secret is cut to similar sized pieces, seasoned well with herbs and spices, and moistened with olive or vegetable oil. The choice is extensive. Parsnips, pumpkins, beetroots, and carrots. Courgettes, bell peppers, sweet peppers, aubergines. Sweetness can be added with onions, red onions, spring onions or shallots. Fennel and sweet corn pieces work well too.

Very hard root vegetables can be par boiled in boiling salted water for 10 minutes to start the cooking process. Add layers of extra flavour with whole squashed garlic cloves, woody herbs like thyme, bay and rosemary. Sweetness can be added with honey or balsamic vinegar.

Roast the veg when you are using your oven for other cooking. Make double. One lot to serve as supper, the rest to make a roast vegetable frittata the next day or toss with olive oil and garlic and throw over a plate of pasta.


Any combination of the following:

2 red peppers cored and deseeded

4-5 sweet green peppers

2 courgettes

2 aubergines

2 tomatoes

Half unwaxed lemon, rind and juice

2 shallots, halved

1 red onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic, squashed but unpeeled

Sea salt and black pepper

2 fresh bay leaves

Leaves stripped from 7-8 sprigs fresh thyme, or a teaspoon dry.

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar


Pre -heat Oven Gas 8/230C

Choose a heavy roasting tin, big enough to hold the veg in one layer.

Prepare the vegetables.

Slice the peppers into strips lengthwise. Cut the sweet green peppers in half.

Cut the courgettes, aubergines, and tomatoes into similar sized pieces (about 4cm square).

Throw all the vegetables into the roasting tin.

Scatter across the pieces of red onion, shallot and garlic.

Add the lemon rind, squeeze the juice and toss in the remaining pieces.

Season well and add the herbs.

Add the olive oil and use your hands to toss everything together so that everything is well coated.

Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 20.

Turn the veg and splash with some red wine or balsamic vinegar to sweeten the final flavour.

Finish roasting a further 5 minutes.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online: www. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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