I am making the case for olive oil, salt, and pepper. I know I probably don't have to, but recently we have had some meals with just these items and they are so so delicious. I like recipes with lots of fun ingredients too, but it is also easy to keep it so simple. Honourable mention goes to lemon juice and garlic.
Roasted vegetables - This works for any type of vegetable, use simple olive oil, salt, and pepper and let the vegetable itself shine through. I will line my baking tray with either parchment paper or tin foil, spread out the washed, trimmed, and cut vegetables and then drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. I don't completely dry them off after washing them, but they aren't soaking wet when I put them on the pan. Some people toss their vegetables in a bowl with these things but I skip that step. You can also group together multiple vegetables on the same pan (provided they are roughly the same shape, and keeping in mind that some, like kale or tomatoes, will take less time than cauliflower or sweet potato). Then bake at about 400 degrees F. If you have a convect roast option, use it.
Now what can you do with these vegetables?
- Serve as a side dish
- Top a salad or make a bowl
- Add to a jar of pre-made pasta sauce for some extra flavour
- Top croustini or toast (like this recipe)
Chicken marinade - This is where the lemon and garlic come in handy (fresh garlic is fine, but garlic powder will work too). It doesn't take that long for the flavours to come through, even 30 minutes will help. You cut it it up and fry it in the pan to add to a pasta or salad bowl, or you can BBQ it.
Salad dressing - You can make lots of good salad dressings with honey, dijon mustard, buttermilk, fresh herbs, etc, but if you're stuck for time or ingredients, just use these staples and it will be fine. Typically you use one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil or it will be too tangy. I would leave the garlic out since it will be raw and can be overpowering.
Flavour - Any dish can be upgraded with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I had some leftover quinoa the other day that I just added some frozen edamame, and some leftover black beans, added oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and it was delicious.
We don't use anything fancy - just Classico olive oil, sea salt, and peppercorns, all from the grocery store.