NORTHWOODS COOKS: Get creative with vegetables

Roasted cauliflower steaks can be topped with a variety of spices. This simple dish carmelizes in the oven and unlike stovetop cauliflower won't smell up the house. (Adobe Stock)
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With garden harvests nearing an end, here is a sampling of tasty vegetable dishes from Served as a main dish or a side dish, they are a healthy addition to any meal.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

1 large head cauliflower, sliced lengthwise through the core into 4 “steaks”

1/4 cup olive oil


1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place cauliflower steaks on the prepared baking sheet.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Brush half of the olive oil mixture over the tops of the cauliflower steaks.

Roast cauliflower steaks in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Gently turn over each steak and brush with remaining olive oil mixture. Continue roasting until tender and golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.


Sweet Roasted Autumn Root Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Whisk butter, maple syrup, salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Add squash, turnips, parsnips, sweet potato, rutabaga, and carrots to butter mixture and toss to evenly coat. Pour coated vegetables into the prepared roasting pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Connie’s Zucchini Crab Cakes

2-1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 egg, beaten


2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup minced onion

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter or margarine. Stir in seasoned crumbs, minced onion, and seasoning. Mix well.

Shape mixture into patties. Dredge in flour. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides.


Baked Sweet Potato Sticks

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. paprika

8 small sweet potatoes sliced lengthwise into quarters

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix olive oil and paprika. Add potato sticks, and stir by hand to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.


Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

6 slices bacon

6 whole medium tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup croutons

Salt and pepper to taste


6 sprigs of parsley (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. While bacon is cooking, wash tomatoes and slice off stem ends. Gently scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2 inch wall. Finely chop pulp and place 1/3 cup of it in a medium bowl, discarding remaining pulp.

Stir crumbled bacon, green pepper, cheese, croutons, and salt and pepper into tomato pulp. Spoon an equal amount of mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Place stuffed tomatoes into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into quarters

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes in a large roasting pan and toss with oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary until evenly coated. Spread out potatoes in a single layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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