Roasted vegetables are not fancy food. They are simple food. They are sweet and savory at the same time. They are just the right thing to make during the time of year when your heat hasn’t yet kicked on and a warm oven is a welcome thing on cool night. When done right, they’re so flavorful and delicious that you want to snack on them like junk food. And what virtuous junk food they are.
Sadly, they’re a food that sometimes suffer in the journey from chopped to cooked. So while this isn’t a recipe per se, here are a few of my favorite tips for enjoying what can easily be the most delightful food of the season.
1. Chop veggies into like-sized pieces. I don’t pull out a ruler or anything, but I try to make sure that I’m more or less chopping vegetables into comparably sized pieces. (Except when I’m using celeriac, which I cut slightly smaller than everything else so that it cooks faster.)
2. Coat your veggies evenly. In my book, the most successful veggies are tossed in olive oil before being added to pan to ensure that they’re thoroughly coated. A thorough coat doesn’t mean dripping, just glistening. (After coating with oil I sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.)
3. Use a sheet pan. Instead of loading veggies into a high-sided baking dish that might trap the steam and leave you with limp vegetables, I spread them out in a single layer on a metal sheet pan so they can crisp up. Because our kitchen has a tiny apartment-sized oven, we use two jelly roll-sized pans to roast ours.
4. Use a hot oven. I cook my veggies at between 400 and 450 degrees. Popped into a hot oven for between 20 and 30 minutes, the veggies can get nice and tender on the inside and perfectly browned on the outside. Keep a fork handy to give the vegetables a try as they cook. I call my vegetables ready when they’re tender, not mushy.
5. Toss mid-cook. Use a spatula to push your veggies around a bit. Make sure they have the chance to crisp up on all sides, but keep them loose enough that you’re not leaving the most delicious parts behind by burning them onto the pan.
I used carrots, celeriac, two kinds of cauliflower, shallots, and yellow onions tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Now your turn. What are your favorite fall vegetables for roasting?
I don't generally consider myself to be on top of cooking tips but I do all of these! And I agree, one of our favorite things to eat. The grownups like zucchini and squash mixed in, but the children do not. A can of chickpeas (drained) and mixed in is a favorite accidental discovery, and red onions are even yummier than white or yellow. Grape tomatoes are good if you are adding to pasta, because it makes it less dry. And any roasted vegetable/pasta dish is made fancier by adding shaved Parmesan (not grated, not shredded… shaved).
I agree with the chickpeas suggestion AND that red onions have the most flavor. 😉
Yum! I do all of these things too when roasting vegetables. My favorite things to roast are brussels sprouts and spring asparagus. Sometimes I drizzle a bit of lemon juice on top, too. And I always use the flakiest kosher salt!
I am a terrible cook but I both can and love to do cook roasted vegetables. I'm a big fan of adding yams and sweet potatoes to my mix as well as what you've mentioned above. Yum!
Chopping like-size pieces is one of those things that seems so obvious now that you mention it, and yet I've not been doing it. Appreciate having it spelled out for naive cooks like me. 🙂
My favorite roast veggie (by far) are brussel sprouts! So sweet and delicious. I especially love it when some of the leaves fall off and become crisp like chips. yum! I like them with just oil, salt and pepper but they are also great tossed with a bit of grainy mustard and maple syrup.
This is another amazing roasted veggie dish that I can't get enough of. I use quinoa instead of couscous: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/mediterranean/mediterranean/roasted-vegetable-couscous-salad-with-harissa-style-dressing.html
The pics are so wonderfully colorful like painted art. And now I need a tip on how to prevent oven bake eggplants fully soaking up with oil when I do the coating part.
YES! Bonus points if you add a sprinkle of rosemary or thyme 😉
The sheet pan seems to be where I'm going wrong! I've always put them in a baking dish and they come out a little mushy…will attempt again with a sheet pan. Thanks for the tip 🙂
Beets, brussels sprouts, and carrots are my favorite to roast!!! And sometimes, I'll toss in a bit of maple syrup and a touch of butter with my brussels sprouts.
I've been making a ton of roasted veggies the past month and they never disappoint. My go to mix is mushrooms, brussel sprouts, potatoes, onions, baby tomatoes, peppers, garlic, zucchini, and carrots. Toasted with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and some salt and pepper. I like to sprinkle some parmesan on it when I'm ready to eat them. So good.
butternut squash, cut in half, rub a pat of butter over it cold, sprinkle salt, pepper, and brown sugar in equal amounts, and roasted for 45 minutes (400 degrees). TOO CREAMY and DECADENT. Substitute apples and cranberries instead of sugar… or onions and sage…if you're feeling fancy. Or maple syrup… you get the idea.
My roommate in Australia used to make a Wednesday roast every week, and I was always so impressed by how delicious the roast vegetables were–and with so little effort! Definitely need to work this into my regular rotation this winter. Thanks for the tips!
Oh yes, my favourite!! I adore roasted squash (with a drizzle of maple syrup!), I am very much craving a plate of veg right now but I won't have a working oven for another week whilst the kitchens re-done….it will be worth the wait!
Goodness, all these suggestions have my mouth watering! I love to roast a mix of carrots, parsnips, taro, boniato, yucca, and sweet potato.
That looks so easy and yet so good! I have to remember to incorporate it in my winter cooking – I am so bad with cooking and really need some easy recipes. I love roasting brussels sprouts with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar – heaven!
You inspired me – I roasted cauliflower, beets, carrots, eggplant, one little red bell pepper, and red onion last night. By some small miracle, they turned out to be delicious. First ever roasted vegetable success!
A bit wasteful, but we always line our baking sheet with aluminum foil as it makes cleanup SO easy. Favorite roasted veggies include sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, red onion, asparagus, and green beans. I could go on and on!
I am diabetic and vegetarian so this is a favorite dinner of mine. Alas I cannot eat carb laden sugar squash or potatoes that raise blood sugar so I add whole garlic cloves, red bell peppers of three colors, broccoli, kale , mushrooms, Brussels sprouts . I use a beautiful lemon flavored olive oil made here in my California area that gives them a amazing flavor. Surprisingly broccoli is one of my favorite roasted vegetables with olive oil .
I love butternut squash and onions. So good!
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