We just returned yesterday from a weekend of cupcakes (or as our now-2 year-old nephew calls them, "pupcakes") and comfort food in Michigan.  Immediately before that I spent three days on a work trip to Nebraska, the land of beef and apparently very generous servings of wine at the airport bar.  I have not seen a Solo cup that full of value-priced wine since grad school.

I was so ready for green things I saw mirages of all the vegetables I would eat as the late winter sun flooded our car cruising west on I-94.  Danny snoozed in the passenger seat while I lusted after broccoli.

But after grocery shopping and unpacking and laundry and work emails and a pretty urgent reckoning with my neglected jungle of eyebrows, I stood facing an ocean of vegetables on my countertop, utterly bewildered as to what to do with them.

Enormous raw chopped salad?  SO MUCH CHOPPING.

Enormous saute?  I looked:  I did not have a saute pan nearly large enough for such a task.  (I do not think anyone does.  We are talking about a LOT of vegetables here.)

Enormous pot of soup?  After a winter of vegetable-packed ribollita and other veggie-heavy stews, I concluded I just could not get down with soup again just yet.  (Yes, there's a winter storm on its way tonight.  Didn't you see that I proclaimed weeks ago that winter was pretty much over?  Keep laughing.)

Also, I had found my all-time favorite vegetable of all time at the store, and cooking them down seemed a crime.

RAINBOW CARROTS, Y'ALL.  Let me talk to you real quick about the glories of these carrots.  I do so love a list.

  1. Um, they are obviously gorgeous.
  2. They are young enough that they do not require peeling.
  3. Their flavor is much sweeter and more robust than your everyday carrot.  (So much so that my brother once asked, after a forkful of these charmers, what I had sweetened them with.  The answer, of course, was nothing.)
  4. Seriously.  Those colors, stop it!
  5. They are quite impressive when roasted.

So it was decided.  I'd roast All The Vegetables.  In addition to two very alluring bunches of rainbow carrots, I also had a boatload of the following:  cauliflower, broccoli, haricots verts, and some big nasty parsnips.  (By nasty I mean broad and woody-looking.  Not impossible to deal with but in need of a sharp knife and some TLC.)

I should note here that today's post is not really a recipe.  It's more of a suggestion:  just do this.

You see, I've started roasting my vegetables in little villages in the pan.  Instead of tossing them all together - which there is really nothing wrong with - I organize them into little plots so that they can ultimately be stored somewhat separately while in the same big container.  This allows us to make dishes with specific vegetables later on if we want, but it's also easy to just chuck a bunch of them into a lunch container and call it good.  

(I apologize that I don't have a photo of the villages.  Laundry called, I think.)

The beauty of this is that it doesn't take any extra time - you're still tossing the veggies in shifts in a big bowl with salt and pepper and whatever herbs/spices - but you can be more flexible later with how you use them.

(Also, if roasting vegetables for company, it not only looks very pretty to have them sorted in groups on a big platter, but it allows people to choose what they like.  I'm not advocating for picky eating - just allowing for preference.)

So grab your biggest mixing bowl.  Prune those vegetables down to a reasonable size.  Don't go crazy - they'll shrink in the oven.  Throw some parchment down on a sheet pan.  Grab your favorite fresh or dried herbs.  (Our current favorite is another find from Penzey's.  Shocker.)  Shove those veggies in the bowl, toss with salt, pepper, herbs and a small glug of olive oil, and dump them on the pan.  Then collect them into civilized patches to make room for their friends.  Do not rinse the bowl - you've pre-seasoned it, for heaven's sake.  Repeat until you're out of vegetables.

Roast at 400F until they're browned on the edges and some sides, maybe an hour. You may have to circulate them on the pan about halfway through, but other than that, you can go have your home beauty marathon or nap or cleaning binge or whatever.

Serve with roasted sausages (one of my favorite cheats for a pretty-looking meal for guests) or load into a bowl on their own.  I like a squeeze of lemon and some shaved parmigiano or cacio di Roma, but I think these can really stand alone if you get the right seasonings on there.

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