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 quickly with very little prep or cleanup. Just chop, drop and roast.
That’s why every week, we’ll be sharing 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.
This week, Samah Dada, founder of popular food blog Dadaeats and host of #Cooking, shares the recipe she makes when she spends the whole day developing recipes — which is most days — and is feeling lazy: Sheet Pan Masala-Spiced Veggie Bowl.
Someone asked me the other day, “Samah, what do you eat to feed yourself? I mean, if you’re constantly cooking all day, do you just eat all your recipe tests?” This is a great question. Do I just eat all of the brownies and cookies and pastas that I recipe test? Well, yes. But while I would like to subsist chocolate chip tahini cake all day every day, the truth of the matter is I need (and love) vegetables.
It’s funny how vegetables have sometimes been made out to be the bad guy. “Eat your veggies!” proclaims every parent and advertisement, as if it is assumed that we wouldn’t even consider doing otherwise were it not for these pleas. However, I am now and have always been on the complete opposite end of this spectrum. I grew up loving vegetables thanks to my mom’s plant-forward, Indian home cooking.
Growing up with dishes like chana masala, masala green beans or aloo gobi on rotation adjusted my lens on vegetarian cooking, and I now feel obligated by my soul to add a variety of delicious masala spices to any veggie dish I’m cooking. When I cook for myself, I thrive on seasoning my veggies with cumin, turmeric, and cayenne — heightening the flavor profiles and reminding me of the tastes of home.
Back to the original question: What do I eat for myself? Because I spend my whole day cooking, when it comes time to cook for myself, I’m tired. Enter sheet pan life. I live for my sheet pan because not only does it allow me to make delicious cookies, but it also gets lunch or dinner done all in one shot. At the end of the day, I’ll slice up a bunch of vegetables — carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes — drizzle them in some extra-virgin olive oil and season them heartily with masala, salt and pepper. I end up with vegetables that are consistently good and ultimately give me the dose of nutrients I’m lacking from my cookies.
The contents of this sheet pan are the things that you’d regularly find me eating for lunch or dinner. Tossing broccoli with some turmeric and cumin give it more body. Pairing it with crispy-but-still-tender chickpeas seals the deal. The sweet potatoes are crisp on the outside yet creamy on the inside — making it the perfect vehicle for scooping up some of the chickpeas with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. You can serve these over grains or rice in a traditional “buddha bowl” style, or eat them solo — either way, you’ve got an easy meal perfect for weekly prep or after a long day.