Broyles: Let your oven do the work with these sheet pan suppers

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Use a sheet pan to bake this Crispy Beef and Broccoli from "The Paleo Sheet Pan Cookbook" by Jennifer Bumb.

By Addie Broyles

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Those blissfully cool mornings seem to be here to stay.

Our afternoons aren't exactly chilly, but that urge to return to baking and roasting is strong, at least in my house. That means your roasting pans and baking dishes (and soup pots) are about to get a workout, but let's pause for a moment to celebrate the humble sheet pan. Again.

In many kitchens, cooks primarily used rimmed or flat baking pans for cookies or baked french fries, maybe a Shake 'n Bake pork chop now and then. (Or was that only in my house growing up?)

Now, cooks all over the country are enjoying the versatility of these aluminum pans, which have long been a staple of restaurant and hotel kitchens for broiling, baking and roasting. The pans haven't changed, but how we look at them has.

Over the past decade, recipe developers and cookbook authors started developing whole meals cooked on a single pan, and the idea of "sheet pan suppers" really took off. The key is getting your vegetables and proteins to cook at the same time. That's what happens in Jennifer Bumb's crispy beef and broccoli, which cooks in 12 minutes in a 450-degree oven. That's less time than it takes to order takeout.

Many cooks, myself included, rely on sheet pans for roasting vegetables to serve alongside seared or grilled proteins, but those vegetables can be a meal in themselves, especially when served with a little rice or beans.

I rarely parboil vegetables before putting them on the pan, but that is Chetna Makan's trick for making her roasted cauliflower and red onion dish work without burning the onions. Claire Tansey's eggplant Parmesan recipe uses a hefty amount of oil to crisp up the eggplant in the oven before adding mozzarella and marinara and finishing the dish under the broiler.

To make chicken shawarma, Lorraine Fina Stevenski marinates the meat in a homemade spice mixture, lemon zest and olive oil before roasting the meat and vegetables together on a foil-lined sheet pan.

The last two recipes represent two ends of the sheet pan spectrum. The first is from Jessica Whiteman, executive chef of Gather restaurant in Berkeley, California, who uses the sheet pan roasting method twice in her harvest bowl, a fine dining-caliber celebration of zucchini and heirloom squash.

And lastly, we have cookbook author Linda Gassenheimer's basic sheet pan supper made with chunks of sausage cooked on a sheet pan with frozen vegetables and drizzled with an easy-to-make honey mustard sauce right before serving.

I hope these recipes inspire your own sheet pan suppers this fall. Feel free to mix and match the techniques or adapt the dishes to use the ingredients you have on hand. You could use chicken in the broccoli dish or steak in the shawarma dish, Brussels sprouts instead of cauliflower and winter squash instead of summer squash in that harvest bowl. So many possibilities, all thanks to that humble little pan.

Crispy Beef and Broccoli

Beef and broccoli is one of my absolute favorite dishes to order when I go out for Chinese food. This recipe was created so that you can still enjoy the deliciousness of takeout at home! I love how full of flavor this dish is while still keeping it simple. Feel free to add more vegetables if you'd like. I like to serve this with fried cauliflower rice. For a non-paleo version, use flour, cornstarch or tapioca starch instead of the arrowroot powder.

- Jennifer Bumb

2 pounds sirloin steak, cut against the grain into 1/2-inch slices

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 cup coconut aminos

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 pound broccoli florets

3 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Sliced green onions, optional

In a large bowl, place the steak, onion, garlic powder, salt, vinegar, coconut aminos and tomato paste. Toss to combine.

Next, add the broccoli and the arrowroot powder to the bowl. Toss again to combine everything. Cover the bowl, and let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

When you are ready to cook the beef and broccoli, heat the oven to 450 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Pour the bowl of steak and broccoli onto the pan and evenly spread out the ingredients.

Cook the beef and broccoli for 12 minutes, or until the broccoli can be easily pierced with a fork and its ends are brown and the beef looks crispy. Sprinkle the green onions over the pan, if you are using them. Serves 4 to 6.

- From "The Paleo Sheet Pan Cookbook: 60 No-Fuss Recipes with Maximum Flavor and Minimal Cleanup" by Jennifer Bumb (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)

Roast Cauliflower and Red Onions

There's nothing much to do in this recipe - just combine everything and let the oven do the rest. The spicing is very simple, too. Serve as part of a feast table, or just with yogurt and salad on the side. It's super with naan or chapatti, and great in a wrap for lunch or a picnic. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat before serving or enjoy at room temperature.

- Chetna Makan

1 small cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

4 tablespoons tomato purée

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon chile flakes

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Don't discard the leaves and stem - cut them into small pieces too.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add all the cauliflower bits. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cauliflower begins to soften, then drain.

Tip the cauliflower into a roasting tray and add the onion wedges. In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and spread this paste all over the cauliflower and onion. Rub it in well so that everything is evenly covered.

Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, until golden, turning halfway through cooking. Serve warm. Serves 4.

- From "Chetna's Healthy Indian: Vegetarian: Everyday Veg and Vegan Feasts Effortlessly Good for You" by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley, $29.99)

Chicken Shawarma With Sweet Onions and Red Peppers

Shawarma, pronounced "shuh-wor-muh," is much like a Greek gyro or Turkish kebab - lots of lemon, garlic and spices with just whispers of cinnamon and allspice. Originally made with lamb, shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a vertical spit. The meat is roasted slowly for hours on all sides as the spit rotates over a flame and then shaved off the stack with a large knife.

My sheet pan version uses chicken, which you can serve over basmati rice or as a sandwich on toasted naan or pita bread slathered with yogurt sauce. Add crumbled feta, sliced basil and minced parsley if you like. My favorite sides with this dish are sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes tossed with lemon and parsley. This recipe makes about 1 cup of spice mix, which you can use on vegetables, including eggplant, or on grilled meat or fish. In this recipe, I mix it with extra-virgin olive oil before marinating. Store the extra spice mix in a tightly covered glass jar for future recipes.

- Lorraine Fina Stevenski

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons ground sweet paprika

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch ground red pepper or flakes, or more if you like heat

For the marinade:

2 lemons, juice and zest

1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for the pan

6 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons spice mix, see recipe above

2 to 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces

1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch slices

1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

For the yogurt sauce:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, full fat or 2%

1/2 cup mayonnaise, full fat or low fat

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper, to taste

Make the spice mix: Blend all the spices together and store in a jar with a tight-fitting cover. Makes about 1 cup.

Make the marinade: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, honey and 2 tablespoons spice mix. Add the cut-up chicken and this marinade mixture to a large zip-top bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed half sheet pan with foil, drizzle with olive oil. Add the sliced onion and red pepper to the bag of marinated chicken and massage to coat. Add all the contents of the bag, with the marinade, onto the pan and arrange in an even layer. Bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, turning the chicken a few times until the onions and peppers are crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

Change the oven setting to broil at 450 degrees. Brown the chicken for about 5 minutes or just until everything is nicely caramelized and browned. Let the chicken rest about 15 minutes and then sprinkle with the chopped Italian parsley.

Make the yogurt sauce: Stir all the ingredients together. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serves 4.

- Lorraine Fina Stevenski

Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

Confession: I've never made authentic eggplant Parmesan. Anything that needs to be salted, rinsed, dried, battered and fried in small batches loses me at the second step. But I adore all of its flavors, and since eggplant roasts into creamy deliciousness as long as it has the time it needs in the oven, a sheet pan preparation seemed perfectly suited to the concept. This works beautifully as a vegetarian main course, served with bread and a big salad.

I use good quality, store-bought marinara sauce if I don't have any of my own homemade sauce on hand. Look for ones with as few ingredients as possible. For this recipe, you'll want eggplant that are roughly the same width from top to bottom. The ones that are very bottom-heavy tend to be more seedy. I love the skin, but you can peel the eggplant if you don't. Finally, don't be tempted to skimp on the oil - it's the key to making the eggplant luxuriously tender.

- Claire Tansey

2 large eggplant

1/2 cup canola oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups marinara sauce

1 (12-ounce) ball mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Fresh basil leaves

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two large rimmed baking pans with parchment paper. Slice the eggplant into 1-inch rounds and divide between the two sheets (you should have about 15 slices). Using about 1/3 cup of the canola oil, brush both sides of each slice and sprinkle with salt.

Roast for 30 minutes, each pan on its own oven rack, then flip the eggplant and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Switch the pans on the racks, then roast another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is golden on both sides.

Transfer all the eggplant slices to one pan, snuggling them right up next to each other. Heat the broiler to high. Spoon marinara sauce overtop the eggplant, then top with sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil 2 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden. Garnish with fresh basil before serving. Serves 3 to 4.

- From "Dinner, Uncomplicated: Fixing a Delicious Meal Every Night of the Week" by Claire Tansey (Page Two, $24.95)

Late Summer Squash Harvest Bowl

This late summer/early fall dish uses a sheet pan twice: first, to roast tomatoes, red peppers and shallots used in a red pepper vinaigrette, and second, to cook cubes of heirloom squash that are then served with thinly shaved zucchini. The recipe is from Berkeley, California, chef Jessica Whiteman, who oversees a restaurant called Gather, so feel free to take what you like and leave the rest. You could make the dressing to serve over salt- and pepper-roasted potatoes or grilled meat. Or make the herb ricotta to serve with pasta and a different mix of roasted veggies.

- Addie Broyles

Roasted tomato-red pepper vinaigrette:

2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered

1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

1 large shallot, peeled and cut in half

2 garlic cloves, whole

1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

1 cup Champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Maple syrup or honey to taste (optional)

Squash and herb ricotta:

2 pounds raw zucchini, shaved with vegetable peeler

3 pounds mixed summer squash (or more zucchini), cut into 1 1/2-inch dice

12 ounces Bellwether Farms whole-milk Jersey ricotta, room temperature

1/2 bunch fresh chives, minced

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, minced

1/2 bunch fresh oregano, minced

1/2 bunch fresh rosemary, minced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 lemons, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons chile oil (optional)

1/4 cup toasted and sliced almonds (optional)

To make the roasted red pepper vinaigrette, heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, red bell peppers, shallots, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss together, then spread the tomato mixture evenly in an oven-safe glass baking pan. Roast in oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stopping to gently toss the vegetables halfway through so they cook evenly, or until the vegetables are soft and slightly charred. Cool to room temperature.

In a Vitamix or blender, add the vegetables and all the liquid in the dish. Add remaining olive oil and Champagne vinegar and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (If you prefer it a little sweeter, you can add a little maple syrup or honey to taste.) Let chill in the refrigerator.

Prepare the squash: Place the shaved zucchini into one bowl. In another bowl, toss the diced squash and toss with a little olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread evenly onto sheet pan and roast in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes to desired doneness. Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Combine the minced herbs. Add half the herbs to the ricotta, along with the minced garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, zest of two lemons and half the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more olive oil or lemon juice, if desired. The ricotta should have a Greek yogurt consistency.

To assemble the bowls, scoop three dollops of herb ricotta into the bottom of each bowl. Using the back of a spoon, spread the ricotta around the bottom of the bowl.

Place the shaved raw zucchini in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup vinaigrette, pouring it around the sides of the bowl and using your hands or tongs to gently combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the shaved zucchini between the 4 bowls in mounds, leaving the herb ricotta visible at the edges. Drizzle chile oil around the edge of the ricotta, if desired.

Mound the roasted squash on top of the shaved zucchini. Sprinkle each bowl with toasted almonds and the remaining minced herbs. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.

- From chef Jessica Whiteman of Gather Kitchen, Bar & Market in Berkeley


Sausage Sheet Pan Supper

I like to keep frozen foods on hand to avoid extra trips to the supermarket. Here's a quick supper using ingredients from my freezer and that lets your oven do all of the work. The idea of a sheet pan meal is to simply place the ingredients on a baking sheet and bake. I add more flavor by spooning on some sauce. Use this recipe as a blueprint for amounts and times and you can substitute with whatever you have on hand. Use any type of sausage, but if you're using pre-cooked sausage, you can reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. You can also substitute butternut squash cubes for the frozen sweet potatoes.

- Linda Gassenheimer

Vegetable oil spray

3/4 pound fresh chicken or turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups chopped frozen onion

1 cup frozen butternut squash cubes

2 cup frozen green beans

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon canola oil

Salt and pepper

1 whole-wheat pita bread

1/4 cup sliced scallions, optional

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Add the sausage, onion, butternut squash and green beans spreading out in one layer. Place the sheet pan in the oven on the middle shelf. Roast 15 minutes. A meat thermometer for the sausage should read 165 degrees. Meanwhile, mix honey, Dijon mustard, turmeric and oil together in a large bowl and toast pita bread.

Remove pan from the oven and add the sauce to the pan. Stir around all the on the sheet pan to coat them with the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dinner plates. Sprinkle scallions on top. Serves 2.

- Linda Gassenheimer

Addie Broyles writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter at @broylesa

This Roast Cauliflower and Red Onions dish from "Chetna's Healthy Indian Vegetarian" by Chetna Makan includes a seasoning mix made with tomato paste, turmeric and chile flakes.