moroccan roasted vegetables

The markets and orchards of Central New York are swollen with colors more vibrant than a box of Lucky Charms. From procuring ingredients for my first salsa to picking apples with visiting family, all this bounty has kept me busy.

And then there was Saturday night’s excursion to the bedimmed Manlius Theater to see Food, Inc., a new documentary on the evils of the modern food industry. There were the expected appearances by Michael Pollan and his crony EricSchlosser of Fast Food Nation. There were undercover slaughterhouse cameras and dejected farmers. There was an appearance by the grieving mother of a 2-year-old poisoned by contaminated ground beef.



There were as many “corporation X refused to comment for this film” as there were new reasons to eat real food.

Check out this quote by Pollan on the backwardness of the modern food industry:

It’s a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot … the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound ‘whole-grain goodness’ to the rafters. Watch out for those health claims.

We have a warped system where Coke and Doritos are more affordable than the ingredients for a salad. We sit blindly by while a handful of corporations mess with our kitchens. I watch documentaries like King Corn and Food, Inc., and still it’s hard to say no sometimes to chicken wings. Ignorance may truly be bliss, but for me a daily commitment to  real, raw, unprocessed food brings a more continuous joy.



Take these delicious Moroccan roasted vegetables, an idea lifted from my old standby, the Moosewood New Classics. Plain old yam wrested from the earth, shiny purple eggplant and zucchini from a local farmer, red pepper and onion all tossed with lemon juice and the fire-colored spices of northern Africa. Easy as chopping, seasoning and baking, this mix yields enough to last for a few days.

Better than the lack of additives and sweeteners was the simplicity of flavors. The original Happy Meal was never patented and is not sold along suburban byways. It’s right here, in our fields and on our plates.

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables

serves 4 as a main

Prep Time: 30 min/Baking Time: 40 min

1 medium onion, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch thick semi-circles
1 small eggplant, cut into ½ inch thick semi-circles
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (15.5 ounce can, drained: use the reduced-sodium ones if you can find them!)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T ground cumin
1½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Mix everything up to the spices together in a large bowl. Mix the spices together and stir them in.
  3. Spread mixture onto an unoiled 11×17 inch baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, then bake for another 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Serve warm, over a grain, and top with any combination of: toasted almond, raisins, chopped hard-cooked eggs, crumbled feta cheese, or plain yogurt for a balanced meal.

per 15-ounce serving: 296 calories, 8.1 g protein, 9.5 g fat, 48.8 g carbohydrates, 0 cholesterol, 10.3 g dietary fiber

12 thoughts on “moroccan roasted vegetables

  1. Kat
    September 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Yum, I was looking for a simple recipe for this, all those things are close at hand! Yay!

  2. Kat
    September 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Oh, I was wondering too if you have some apple recipes? Most of our apples and pears have now ripened and we’ve picked quite the crop. We do apple crumble and sometimes apple pie, or just stewed apples for dessert, but I wouldn’t mind learning a few more tricks to get the most out of this bounty. Sometimes there will be a small pecked bit on them where the birds or insects have got to them so not all are good for taking to the office for instance and need to be used up in recipes instead.

    Hope you’re good! Still loving the blog :-)

  3. September 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Absolutely yummy!
    It would be delicious with chicken too!

  4. September 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Nice to “meet” you too, thanks for visiting my blog!
    Moosewood New Classics is one of my favorite cookbooks for those days when I’m not sure what I want to make. I look forward to reading more:)

  5. Rebecca Turnbull
    September 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I’m going to make this on the weekend. My friends and I are doing a ‘Harvest’ potluck. I love your recipes and your writing (as always). You are such an inspiration Jen. I’ll let you know how it works out!!

  6. Emily Hollywood
    September 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    hey, just wanted to say that i canned for the first time today, though with my mother-in-law to guide me. peach jam. love the idea of making salsa, though i don’t got any of the equipment in syracuse.

  7. Sheri
    September 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    wow you’ve done it again! Come up with another fabulous looking recipe and photos! Can’t wait to try this.

  8. September 23, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I think your blog and diet are great, but I did feel the need to say that it actually isn’t more expensive to eat non-processed foods. I know it can be expensive to buy organic produce, and that’s a different issue. It actually is a lot cheaper to buy a bunch of fresh produce, rice, and pasta to eat than to subsist on tv dinners and Doritoes. You can buy a bag of potatoes, for instance, that contains three servings for $3.99, whereas a tv dinner containing one serving usually costs around $5. Eating healthy isn’t more expensive if you know how to do it. The public is just misinformed.

    1. Jen
      September 23, 2009 at 9:17 am

      I completely agree, I was just reiterating a point the film makes: the illusion of cheap food. I too buy unprocessed, raw ingredients and find that homemade granola, for example, is much cheaper than 5$ boxes of cereal. But junk food on a whole is actually cheaper, because the ingredients (corn, corn syrup, corn-based preservatives) get government subsidies. In the film, a working-class family continually eats fast food because they can feed everyone for under 15$, and a trip to buy fresh vegetables sets them back much more. Just an interesting perspective, that’s all.

      1. January 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        I can’t believe I’m the first prosen to comment on this. My husband and I tried this recipe over the weekend and while 1 or 2 of the ingredients weren’t available at our local supermarket it turned out to be delicious. I don’t know much about Morocco and their food, but this is definitely what I imagined their food taste like

  9. Star
    March 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Made this last night and my family loved it! I used to make this years ago, taken from the same recipe book, and I was excited to come across this recipe and be reminded to make it again. My variations – I used 3 small zucchini instead of just 1. Skipped the tomatoes (hubby doesn’t care for them), omitted the red pepper and the turmeric (realized last minute I was out of turmeric!) and I cut the salt from 2 tsp to 1-1/2 tsp and I think it would do fine with even less than that. I served it over Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf which I cooked in beef broth & 1 tsp of the spice mixture from the veggies and topped with a sprinkle of fat free crumbled feta cheese. By managing portion size, you can have the whole meal for around 300 calories. Very nutritious, very delicious and my whole house was smelling like these amazing spices!