The Simple Trick to Making Veggies Deliciously Flavorful

Photo: Gary Yourofsky

Vegan 100
Photo: Quadrille Publishing

Gaz Oakley worked in professional kitchens for years before giving up meat. “I went vegan overnight after watching a speech by an activist called Gary Yourofsky on YouTube,” says Oakley. The key to his overnight dietary transition was tapping into his years of culinary knowledge, using his kitchen techniques and ingredient know-how to develop delicious plant-based recipes. Eventually, he began sharing his cooking online as The Avant-Garde Vegan, where he gained thousands of followers on YouTube and Instagram.

His first cookbook,Vegan 100, is all about fighting against the stereotype of dull, flavorless vegan food. In his roasted vegetables recipe, he wraps the veggies in foil packets, sealing in moisture as they roast to get perfectly tender veggies with little or no oil. He also uses ras el hanout, a spice blend he discovered during his travels through Morocco.

“Ras el hanout basically translates to ‘head of the shop’ and it’s a mixture of the best spices the shop has,” says Oakley. “Often it’s made up of cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, turmeric, and sometimes even rose petals.” The covered roasting method seals in all of that flavor so that, when you unwrap the vegetables after cooking, you reveal a cloud of aromatic steam that will get vegan (and non-vegan) appetites in gear. Is your mouth watering yet? Keep reading to find out how to make it at home.

Keep reading to get the roast vegetable recipe.

“Bake-in-a-bag” Moroccan-style vegetables

Serves 4

1 small butternut squash (peel on), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 red onions, cut into 8 pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 zucchinis, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes
8 garlic cloves, peels left on
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp ras el hanout
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare four large sheets of foil topped with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.

3. Sprinkle the ras el hanout over the vegetable mixture, season with salt, and pepper, and mix everything together with your hands.

4. Divide the vegetables between the four pieces of parchment paper and drizzle over some oil (if using). Gather the corners of the paper together and twist to secure the vegetables inside. Lift the package onto the foil sheet and wrap up tightly. Repeat the process for the rest of the vegetables until you have four parcels.

5. Place parcels onto a baking tray, then bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Vegan 100 by Gaz Oakley, published by Quadrille.

Vegan cooking is loaded with healthy eating inspiration. For more, check out this vegan chili that's free of processed ingredients or this vegan seven-layer dip.

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