We’ve got a small, square shaped wooden table with three chairs + a highchair in our kitchen. I bought the table when I moved to my first 1-bedroom apartment and it was perfect for that tiny space. Back then I only had two chairs and the table mostly carried pasta dishes and red wine glasses. Eighteen years, four apartments and three children later, we still eat most our meals on it. It is honestly not very pretty and its wine stains are now mixed with blueberries, turmeric, coconut and all the stains, smudges and scratches that come from years of feeding babies. Because it is square shaped and we are five in the family, Luise or I end up eating our meals either standing up or sitting on an extra stool squeezed in on a corner. It’s a small but pretty striking symbol that:
A) I am too sentimental about my furniture.
B) We weren’t entirely prepared for how life with three children would be.
I wrote a little text on Instagram about this. That behind glossy photos of food, travels and a kitchen that on good days looks picture perfect, we are still trying to figure out life. And find somewhere to sit. The plan is to get a round table that hopefully both will fit into the kitchen and have seats for the entire family. But until then, I’ll keep eating standing up.
I first shared this recipe/method about a week ago on Instagram stories (hence the poor image quality above) and judging from the number of direct messages in my inbox, I thought I’d post an more outlined version here as well. We cannot get enough of tray bake dinners in our family. They are simply one of the easiest and most delicious weekday solutions we know and this recipe represents much of what we love about food. Easy to make, easy to like, easy to adapt. It combines warm and cold and sweet and savory. It is vegetable centered, comforting, leaves a minimum of dishes and the kids like it too.
Our twist is that we add lots of fresh ingredients to the tray once it’s ready in the oven; yogurt, pesto, lettuce, spinach, black beans and pomegranate seeds. They add texture and make it feel more like a proper meal. Some days we act like adults and put plates on the table. Other days we just stick the kids a fork each and we all eat from the same tray (sorry mum!).
We’ve shared the recipe exactly as we made it last week but we’ve also included a list of variations below the recipe. So don’t get hung up on any specific ingredients, simply use this more as a starting point. The important thing in this recipe is the combination of roasted ingredients + fresh veggies + fruit + something creamy. I hope you give it a try. It’s truly a perfect autumn weekday dinner.
One-Tray Dinner Extra Everything
We wrote a similar recipe for the September issue of Jamie Magazine. We added raw spiralized vegetables (makes it even prettier!) and halloumi instead of yogurt. We add kale and Brussels sprouts midway through roasting since they need less time. The goal is that they will be perfectly crunchy at the same time as the other vegetables are ready. It can be a little tricky to time it right on your first try but second time around you usually get the hang of it.
1 kg / 2 lbs potatoes
3-4 carrots, peeled
250 g / 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
3-4 large kale leaves
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 cup cooked black beans
pesto (you can thin it out with a little olive oil)
Cut potato, carrots and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large tray and drizzle with oil and salt. Bake at 200°C / 400°F for approx. 15-20 minutes. Cut the Brussels sprouts in halves. Trim off the thick stalks from the kale and tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Drizzle with oil and salt, add to the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes more or so. The vegetables are ready when they are golden and tender and the kale chips are crunchy.
Scatter baby spinach, sliced (or mashed) avocado, black beans, pomegranate seeds, dollops of yogurt and pesto evenly over the vegetables. Squeeze over a little lemon and drizzle with oil. Dig in!
Roasted ingredients: Carrots / Broccoli / Cauliflower / Cabbage / Sweet potato / Bell pepper / Brussels Sprouts / Kale / Potatoes / Parsnip / Beetroot
Fresh ingredients: Lettuce / Aragula / Spinach / Avocado / Cucumber / Cherry Tomatoes / Spiralized Carrots, Beetroot or Zucchini
Fruit: Apple / Orange / Pear / Pomegranate Seeds / Grapes
Sauce: Yogurt / Tahini / Pesto / Romesco / Hummus / Dijon Vinaigrette / Coleslaw
Extra: Nuts / Seeds / Beans / Boiled eggs / Halloumi cheese / Feta Cheese / Goat’s Cheese