Happy Holidays! It’s the time of year when we plan to sit down for some shared meals, with the people we love. That always means it’s time to navigate the mixed diet-style table.
It’s really not that difficult to do, with a dash of planning and and splash of creative thinking. I’ve been merging meals for so long that it’s just an automatic part of the menu. If you are an omnivore, hosting a vegan, an ovo-lacto eater and a gluten free person, this dish can be customized to serve all three. If you are the vegan, vegetarian of gluten avoider, you can make this dish to suit your needs and bring it to the table.
The Holidays should be a time to practice compassion. To share the bounty and try really hard to let some stuff go.
I know it can be a challenge. But as long as you have a delectable vegetable dish, you can sink into the soft, roasted veggies and be comforted. The food is the easy part.
So, to make a memorable dish for everyone, I went with roots, herbs and nuts.
To add lots of depth of flavor, I started with caramelizing a big pile of onions. That’s always a good start. Then, a mix of earthy, sweet parsnips and yams, and some brilliant blue potatoes. It’s a little bit special to have an unusual vegetable for a holiday treat, to draw the eye to your dish. Then, slow roast to bring out all the nutty, sweet flavors of your roots, and make them meltingly tender.
Stir in some parsley for a fresh note, and add some crunchy hazelnuts. If you have some gluten-avoiders in your group, you can save half of the veggies to serve solo, with a tasty sauce for drizzling and dipping. Just proceed to make a single strudel, instead of two. For everyone else, crispy filo will turn your veggie side into a showy main for the veg eaters, and a dressed up veggie side for everyone else.
I hope this dish will become an edible problem solver, pleasing all the people at your table. No need to wait for the holidays, either, you can start making this in September and rotate it with your regular menus until Spring.
I know I’ll raise a glass to having a happy, well-fed Holiday this year!
Savory Roasted Vegetable Strudel with Hazelnuts
This makes two strudels, serving about 6 per strudel. For gluten-free diners, just save some of the roasted veggie filling to serve without wrapping in filo. You can always make one with half a cup of shredded Gruyere cheese, for the ovo-lactos, or save one for you to eat as special leftovers the next day.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large onions, chopped
3 large parsnips, 5 cups peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, 2 cups cubed
4 small blue potatoes, 2 cups cubed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped coarsely
6 sheets filo dough, thawed
1/2 cup olive oil, approximately
Two or three hours before you will assemble the strudel, heat the first measure of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Bring to a sizzle, stirring to coat, then lower the heat to medium low and stir every ten minutes or so for two or three hours. Fully caramelize the onions until shrunken and caramel brown.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine the vegetables in a large roasting pan and drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sage, thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover the pan with foil or another pan that covers it completely, then roast for 25 minutes, uncover and stir, then cover again for 20 minutes. Let cool.
When the vegetables come to room temperature, add the onions, parsley and hazelnuts, and if desired, the cheese. Reserve.
Use a pastry brush to brush two sheet pans with olive oil, and then brush each sheet of filo and stack three on each pan. Divide the vegetable mixture between the two stacks, forming a rectangle in the middle with a border of about four inches of filo on all sides. Shape the filling evenly, the fold in the short sides, then the longer sides, and then carefully turn the strudel over. Brush the top with more oil. Use a paring knife to cut about six slits across the top, for steam to escape.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden. Serve warm.