The humble sheet pan is the hero of weeknight cooking. Its sleek, spacious surface allows the busy home cook to get a balanced dinner — protein! starch! vegetables! — on the table fast with very little prep or cleanup. Just chop, drop and roast.
That’s why, every week, we’ll be sharing the go-to, throw-it-all-on-a-sheet-pan recipes from our favorite chefs and home cooks. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, friends, family, or meal-prepping for the week, you should keep these one-pan meals in your back pocket — or, rather, your oven drawer.
This week, food writer Priya Krishna shares the sheet-pan-only version of her mom’s crispy, roasted, cumin- and turmeric-coated cauliflower and potato aloo gobi, a popular recipe from her cookbook “Indian-ish.”
Aloo gobi — potatoes and cauliflower sautéed in spices — was a staple of my upbringing. It’s simple to put together, pretty hands-off and its flavor-to-ease ratio is off the charts. Also, potatoes and cauliflower are truly exceptional at absorbing and enhancing seasonings.
Some methods of making this dish involve deep-frying the vegetables first, which can yield greasy bits, while others involve only sautéing the vegetables, which can result in mush. My mom taught me the ingenious trick of roasting the vegetables in a sheet pan before sautéing them, ensuring the cauliflower and potatoes get that beautiful roast-y, smoky flavor before being tossed in the spices. The only downside is that it does involve an extra step and an extra pan to clean.
So, I wondered: what if you could just do the whole dish in the sheet pan, spices and all? Turns out, this is not only very possible but also very delicious.
All you do is toss the vegetables in the spices beforehand, lay everything out on a sheet tray, roast it and then — this is the important part — roast it again at a slightly higher temperature. The cumin seeds toast, the turmeric imbues the vegetables with a beautiful hue, the onions lightly caramelize and the potatoes and cauliflower get a crunchy, charred finish. Finish it off with a few generous squeezes of lime juice and a shower of chopped cilantro, plus maybe a side of rice or roti, and you’ve got dinner.