Kitchen InFerno: A Cornucopia Inside Your Oven

Healthy eating and college don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but knowing the right tricks can help turn eating right into a daily routine. Let Kiersten Ferno be your guide for navigating the health-food scene without taking a chunk out of your schedule. Welcome to the inFerno.

When my mom would ask what I wanted for any special meal, whether a birthday or my first night home during winter break, my response has always been the same: bowtie pasta with broiled veggies. I know what you’re thinking, “Lame-o!” Well, just keep your pants on, folks, because as soon as you try this dish I promise you’ll be addicted just like me.

It’s super simple, the contrasting textures and rich flavors will knock your socks off, and not to mention it is bursting with nutrients. Woo– delish and nutrish!

So, what’s the dl on this “healthy” meal? Let me fill you in… this time I’ll be brief, mostly because I’d like to start cooking so Elysia Mann and I can nom on this dinner.

This smattering of veggies is a high source of Vitamin C (an antioxidant to help you power straight through fall and winter without catching a nasty cold), beta carotene (let’s just say you’re not going blind anytime soon), potassium (builds protein and metabolizes carbs- this pasta won’t sit like a rock in your stomach), protein (adding a handful of nuts of any kind to a pasta dish is an easy way to balance the sugar content of the carbohydrates). We got all of our vegetables from the Downtown Farmer’s Market, which made this meal extra awesome.

What you need:

2 green zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 green and 1 red bell pepper
1 sweet onion
1 medium eggplant
Half a bag of sliced carrots
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup soy sauce
1 container crumbled feta cheese
1 cup sunflower seeds
Half a box of whole-wheat pasta (we used our favorite kind, bowties, but use whatever you have)

What you do:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Wash and chunk all veggies.

3. Toss in large mixing bowl (you’ll see why) with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.

4. Cover two baking pans with tin foil and mist with non-stick spray. Spread veggies evenly over tin foil and bake for 40 minutes.

5. Every 15 minutes, pull out trays and toss veggies. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with a few shakes of garlic powder.

6. During the last 10 minutes, cook your pasta.

7. While the veggies and pasta are cooking, put sunflower seeds in pan on medium heat. After 3 minutes, toss them and add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to pan. Stir immediately for 1 minute and remove pan from hot burner to let cool. (Pay attention and do this quickly because the seeds will burn easily!)

8. Drain pasta and coat with olive oil so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

9. When veggie timer rings, drizzle with soy sauce and olive oil once more, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and turn on broiler. Let veggies broil for 1 minute. They’ll be browned and crispy on the edges.

10. Serve pasta topped with veggies, a handful of feta and a sprinkle of crunchy sunflower seeds. Add some grilled chicken if you please (we did, and highly recommend it).

Note from inside the Inferno: This recipe makes a lot of veggies, but don’t be overwhelmed! Keep these veggies in a tupperware container all week and reheat them to throw in an omelet, on a panini or in a wrap. Also, time-saver alert: when you’re finished eating, just wrap up the veggies in the tin foil they baked in. Genius, right?

Photos by Elysia Mann

1 Comment

  • Avatar Linda Westphal says:

    Can’t wait to make this meal! And you are right about making wraps with the leftovers. I sprinkle some feta on that also with a few sunflower seeds. Great Lunch!

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