This simple roasted veggies and pesto bowl makes a delicious packable lunch or Meatless Monday dinner. Got varying food preferences? Serve it “deconstructed” for a family-friendly vegetarian feast.
Relaxed Summer Eating
Does your family eat differently in the summer?
I find that summer definitely makes for more relaxed eating. Rather than squeezing cooking and eating between soccer and play practice, summer gives us space to slow down and be a little more carefree.
This more relaxed setting makes it a good time for introducing new foods and habits. Perhaps you pick one day a week to all cook dinner together, or you get the kids in the habit of setting the table, or you try a new recipe every week.
Minimal Cooking Please
Of course, there are days when it’s too hot to turn the stove on–or days when you just don’t want to. After all, shouldn’t you get a break too?
Definitely! Please take a break if you need it and do so without guilt. On some days this may mean picking up take out or going out to dinner. On other nights this may mean being prepared with leftovers or pre-prepped food, such as frozen turkey meatballs or this simple roasted veggies and pesto bowl.
This recipe is perfect for making ahead, which makes it perfect for summer. I recommend making a double batch so you can enjoy leftovers for lunch or as a simple no-cook dinner (or better yet, a picnic dinner at the beach!).
Roasted Veggie Love
I actually make a batch of roasted veggies almost every week of the year. They are perfect for combining with grains as in this bowl, adding to a lunch salad, serving as a side dish, or using as a taco or quesadilla filling. It’s nice because you can roast almost any type of veggie, making it a great way to use up those veggies in the back of your fridge.
I love to make pesto in the summer. You can make it so many ways, with fresh from the farm radish and carrot tops, with classic basil, with kale, with parsley, or a combination of any of your favorite greens!
If you don’t have a food processor or the desire to make pesto, just pick up some store-bought. Look for a pesto that is locally made with minimal ingredients.
One of the fun components of this bowl is the roasted chickpeas. They add a nice crunch and often appeal to kids more than plain, canned chickpeas. In addition, they are a good source of protein and fiber. You can make them yourself or pick up a store-bought version. (I’m not going to lie, I probably make them a couple of times per year myself and the rest of the time I buy them. They are good to have on hand in the pantry for adding crunchy protein to lunch boxes and snacks too!)
Got picky eaters? No worries! You can serve this meal deconstructed and let everyone create their own bowl. Consider choosing a grain that you know your kids like to be the base and add some liked veggies on the side. You can always round it out with a side of fresh baguette and sliced cheese or hummus.
Simple Roasted Veggies and Pesto Bowl
- 1 cup quinoa, millet, or brown rice or other grain of choice
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 cup diced eggplant, mushrooms, or whole grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
- 1 pinch freshly ground pepper or to taste
- 1 batch pesto sauce (or store-bought)
- 1 cup roasted chickpeas (e.g., Biena or Saffron Road) (or make your own)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Next, cook your grain of choice according to package directions.
- While the grain is cooking, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the chopped veggies, drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, making sure veggies are spread out across the baking sheet. (They should fit in a single layer; if it seems too crowded use two baking sheets).
- Roast veggies for about 25 minutes, tossing with a spatula 1-2 times during cooking.
- While the grain and veggies are cooking make the pesto (if making).
- Once veggies are done, if serving hot, add them to the grain and then top with the pesto and the roasted chickpeas. If serving cold, let everything cool down a little bit and then combine, but leave the roasted chickpeas on the side until time to eat. If serving family-style, you may want to leave everything separate and let each family member create their own bowl.
Did you make this recipe? Take a picture and tag @halsanutrition on Instagram.