African Style Roasted Veggies

Photo of a plate of African Style Roasted Veggies

Hot and Veggie
When the weather is hot, I go veggie-heavy. This is by no means a revolutionary way of life. I know plenty of people who do this. Frankly, when the temps are above, say, ninety degrees, eating any kind of normal protein just seems heavy. Presenting me with a lovely and bright ceviche though, will change my mind.

My problem is I tend to get hungry later when I go full veggie. It’s a struggle I’ve dealt with forever. It’s why I am not a salad person. I will eat salad, but it won’t be the whole meal. Adding some grains or pasta helps, though. As does adding a lot of flavor. This recipe for African Style Roasted Veggies has lots of African flavor.

I made this last week when it was warm but before it got too hot to turn on the oven over the weekend. If you were looking for a recipe to try the Fonio we just brought in, this is the perfect thing. It’s also the answer for a veggie garden that has finally started producing. (It’s been a weird growing season.)

*Note-Plantains make a great addition to this recipe but can be hard to find. We have stocked them over the years in the store. But, have found that the day-in day-out demand for plantains just isn’t there. However, the recent rise in popularity of Caribbean flavors means that we are looking to bring them back in. Keep an eye out in the produce department.

African Style Roasted Veggies
Adapted from Africana by Lerato Umah-Shaylor
Yields 4 servings

For the vegetables

1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
1 can chickpeas
1 plantain, preferably green
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp Ras el Hanout
2 garlic cloves
8 ounces good-quality halloumi cheese (or tofu)

For the Chermoula Dressing
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, leaves
1/4 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

Fonio or couscous, prepared according to package directions.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Prep the ingredients
Peel and cut the red onion into small wedges. Stem, deseed, and cut the red and yellow peppers into 1-inch chunks. Cut the zucchini eggplant, and peeled plantain into 1-inch chunks. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Peel the garlic cloves.

Drain the halloumi (or tofu) and cut it into 8 slices.

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds.

Roast the veggies
Place all the vegetables with the chickpeas on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Mix the cumin and coriander seeds together, then scatter 2-1/2 teaspoons over the vegetables, saving the rest for later. Sprinkle the Ras el Hanout over the vegetables and season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finely grate the garlic cloves over the vegetables and toss everything together.

Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 400º F.

Prepare the Chermoula Dressing
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Place the garlic clove in a food processor with the herbs, spices, and chili flakes. Drizzle in the lemon juice and oil with a few tablespoons of water and whizz until you have a runny dressing. Season well

Marinate the halloumi
Brush some of the dressing onto the halloumi (or tofu). Leave it to marinate while the vegetables roast. Pour the remainder of the dressing into a small bowl and reserve.

Finish roasting
Remove the vegetables from the oven, scatter the halloumi or tofu over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons of cumin and coriander seeds. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender and browned and the halloumi (or tofu) is lightly golden (about 15 minutes).

Drizzle the chermoula over the vegetables and serve on its own, with fonio, or with couscous.

Photo credit from Africana by Lerato Umah-Shaylor

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