Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Mushroom Gravy, Apple Salad, and Carrot Cake

I put this meal together because the roasted vegetables and the carrot cake are both baked at 350 degrees. I prepare the vegetables and put them in the oven, then make the carrot cake. While the carrot cake is baking, I have time to make the mushroom gravy and the salad. Then I have time to tidy up the kitchen and set a nice table.

I don’t give measurements here, because the vegetables vary in size anyway. I just keep chopping up vegetables until I have a big serving for each person. I used about half of the bulb of fennel, so I’d have some left over for salads over the following few days. I also saved all the feathery leafy bits of the fennel for use in garnishing salads.

Roasted autumn vegetables
1 bulb of fennel
Potatoes with nice skin, scrubbed
Parsnips, peeled
Several cloves of garlic, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
1 c water or vegetable stock

Cut up the vegetables into small chunks and place them in a baking dish. Mix the herbs into about half a cup of water or stock, with about a tablespoonful of balsamic vinegar. Pour over the vegetables. Put it in on the bottom rack of the oven and turn the oven on and set it to 350 degrees.

Carrot cake
After you put the vegetables in the oven, make the carrot cake. I used Mary McDougall’s recipe for raisin carrot cake (, except that I added a half teaspoon of cardamom and I substituted a gluten-free all-purpose flour for the whole-wheat flour. Put the cake in the oven on the middle rack. When you put the carrot cake in the oven, stir the vegetables and add the rest of the water and herbs.

Apple salad
While the vegetables and cake are baking, chop up a very sweet red apple, some celery, and some raw Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), if you have them. Toss them with a raspberry-flavored vinegar and serve on a bed of lettuce. The vinegar keeps the apples and sunchokes from turning dark before you serve them. If your apples aren’t overly sweet, you could add a little bit of the sweetener of your choice to the vinegar before mixing it with the apples.

Mushroom gravy
Stir-fry a chopped onion over medium heat in a dry pan until the onion is very brown. Then add two cloves of minced garlic and fry for another minute or so. Then add 2 cups of water and ½ chopped fresh mushrooms or a handful of dried mushrooms. Let it simmer slowly until you are about ready to serve the vegetables. Then combine ¼ cup of cornstarch with another cup of water. Mix thoroughly, then stir it into the boiling mushrooms. Keep stirring until it is thickened. You can adjust the amount of water and cornstarch until you get the desired volume and consistency. Serve the gravy over the roasted vegetables.