Benson's Roasted Cotija Mixed Veggies

On any given week opening the deli drawer in my fridge holds nearly as many varieties of cheese as the specialty cheese case in the grocery store. Hard, aged, soft; I’ve got em all in there. With some categories represented by more than one cheese variety. Only difference is that my drawer is packed so tightly you have to rummage around and pull blocks and wedges out to see what's in there.

But I like it that way.

It’s all about the cheese. If I had to choose between cheese and chocolate for the rest of my life, chocolate would receive a very sad breakup letter. A letter littered with tears, no doubt. But the choice is clear.

Cheese makes everything better. Everything.

And choosing the right cheese for the dish is key.

For awhile now I’ve been stuck in a rut with the familiar combo of Monterrey Jack and Cheddar for Mexican dishes. While there’s nothing wrong with that tried and true combo, I’ve grown a little tired of it. I just need a change. Similar to that feeling when you’ve had the same haircut for two years, ya know?

Well, I found my “new” cheese when I snuck a bite of veggies my friend made. (We call this friend "Benson" because she has the same first name as my daughter. Hence the title "Benson's Veggies.") 

That particular tray of veggies was intended for someone else to enjoy with their dinner but that didn’t stop me from gettin’ in there for a sample. Or two. Or three. (With a new fork every time, of course. I'm no heathon.)

Good thing I stole a few bites because this perfect pairing of veggies uses a cheese I had no previous experience with- Cotija. It feels almost like cheddar in the packaging but grates up the way aged Parmesan does. And, as any respectable cheese should, it has it’s own very unique flavor. Bright and every so slightly tangy. One might even say the Mexican version of Feta.

Before I dug my spoon in I mistakenly thought I was getting a bite of feta, but immediately knew it was a brand new little cheese as soon as I started chewing. The slightly crumbly texture atop the savory veggies is a winning combo. Adding it to the duo of lime juice and cilantro makes this dish magical. (At least for someone who grew up thinking tacos were the extent of homemade Mexican cooking.)

You’ve gotta try this one guys.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

You'll want to put Cotija on EVERYTHING when you do.

 

Benson’s Roasted Cotija Mixed Veggies

Ingredients:

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 squash
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes
  • 8-16 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • Handful of cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A bit of cotija cheese
  • EVOO
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

Tools:

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Veggie peeler
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking pan
  • Cheese grater

 

Directions:

1. Cover a baking sheet (or sheet pan) in aluminum foil.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

2. Let that frozen corn thaw a little on the pan by getting it on there first.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

3. Cut off the tops and ends of that zucchini squash and chop it as evenly as you can.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

4. Do the same for the yellow squash.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

5. Chop carrots a little smaller. Those suckers are a lot crunchier than squash, after all.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

6. Carefully slice those grape tomatoes in half.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

7. Pile everything on the baking sheet and stir it together.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

8. Add a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss it in EVOO.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

9. Roast at  425° until slightly browned, approximately 30 minutes.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

10. While you wait get the triple threat ready; chop some green onions and cilantro, and cut a lime in half.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

11. Drizzle as much lime juice as you like over those steaming veggies.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

12. Toss on some chopped cilantro and green onions.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

13. Stir it up.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

15. Grate a ridiculous amount of that Cotija cheese on top. Watch it melt and start getting excited!

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

15. Now dig in!

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY With Melissa

 

I hope this one becomes a staple in your home- I know it has in mine! Here's the printable version for ya:

Roasted Mixed Vegetables with Cotija Cheese -MIY with Melissa

You can also download it here.

What are your favorite ways to make veggies the star of dinner? Leave me a comment with your best recipes and ideas!
 

Happy chopping and roasting and munching, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!

 

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