I have an insane obsession with produce. I’m like those people who can’t stop buying shoes. Except, I buy produce. So much of it. I mean, I could have worse problems, right? Honestly, my fridge can become a veggie graveyard if I don’t stay on top of things. So, roasting whatever I’ve got (before hitting the grocery store to buy more) is the best way I know to use it all up wisely and scrumptiously.
This is, admittedly, not rocket science. Nor is this a difficult task in terms of cooking. I mean, this is hardly a recipe. But, I’ve found over the years, there are some really key tips to roasting veggies that help them turn out crazy delicious. You know…the kind of delicious that has you picking off of the baking sheet…one by one…as you tell yourself you should probably save some for the rest of the family. That kind of delicious.
To me, the beauty of roasting, is getting deep color and a char that creates the most intense flavor. If you prefer less of that roasty goodness, go ahead and remove them just a bit earlier.
Tips for Perfectly Roasted Vegetables
- Basically, all vegetables can be roasted, but their different textures need to be taken into consideration. Things like green beans and broccoli can be so tasty when roasted, but in a mix of vegetables, their texture can be odd.
- Keep vegetables with more moisture at a minimum. This doesn’t mean don’t add them, but don’t overload your baking sheet with lots of zucchini or eggplant. Their moisture can prevent the other vegetables from getting roasted properly. I usually use one very small zucchini and either a small eggplant or half of a large one.
- All root vegetables roast beautifully. They are kind of the stars of roasting.
- Onions are one of my favorite parts of roasted vegetables. I love when they become dark golden brown. Try using a sweet onion. They add so much flavor.
- Experiment with what you’ve got in the fridge. I’ve found that roasted red cabbage slices are amazing! They get crisp edges and are addicting to snack on!
- When using garlic, be sure to slice your cloves into generous slices, chop coarsely or even keep them whole instead of mincing or finely chopping. This will keep the garlic from burning. Burnt garlic can be very bitter.
- Chop your vegetables all about the same size. This will help them cook at about the same time. Honestly, different densities will affect cooking time as well, but uniform size will help.
- Use as many roasting pans as you can fit in your oven at once. If you’re running the oven and roasting anyway, you may as well roast as much as you can and use the veggies through the week. Just be sure to move the pans around every so often.
- Along with moving your pans around, you’ll want to give the vegetables a toss with a nice big spatula every so often. A large spatula will help toss while keeping the shape of your veggies. I like to wait until they’ve been roasting for at least 15 to 20 minutes before tossing.
- Roasting time varies so much, depending on the size and type of vegetables. Judge doneness by roasting the most dense veggie until at least fork-tender, but continue until you get a nice deep color. Your average cooking time will be somewhere between 35 to 45 minutes.
- Don’t drown your vegetables in oil, but skimping won’t work either. You need oil to get things going and prevent burning. Drizzle olive oil over the top and use your hands to toss and coat each piece. Vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant soak up oil like sponges, but once they release some moisture during roasting, they’ll also release some of that oil back onto the pan.
- Add just a few pinches of kosher salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper before roasting. Don’t go overboard with the salt or it will make the vegetables release all of their moisture at once and create a wet mess in the pan. You can season again after the vegetables are done.
- I personally find that limiting seasonings to kosher salt and black pepper gives me much more versatility to incorporate the vegetables into other dishes and allows the true flavors of the vegetables to shine. That said, you certainly can add sprigs of fresh herbs scattered throughout the pan as you roast to add flavor. Fresh rosemary and fresh thyme work well. Be sure to discard them after roasting.
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, kept whole or sliced
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into large dice
- ¼ small red cabbage, cut into 1½ inch strips and separated
- 3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 4 medium carrots, sliced into 1 to 1½ inch slices
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1 to 1½ inch cubes
- 10 to 12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced in half or sliced thickly
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices
- approximately ¼ cup olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the vegetables to as many baking sheets as you can fit into your oven. For this particular recipe, I used two large baking sheets.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top and toss with your hands, coating the veggies. Sprinkle just a pinch of kosher salt and a bit of black pepper over top. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer, so as not to overcrowd them.
- Roast in the oven for at least 15 to 20 minutes before tossing with a large spatula, being careful to keep the veggies shape. If you are using multiple pans, rotate and switch positions in the oven. Roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the most dense vegetable is fork-tender and the veggies have nice dark edges to your liking.
Ideas for Using Roasted Vegetables
- Serve roasted vegetables over soft polenta, mashed potatoes or your favorite grain. Top with a poached or fried egg for a complete meal.
- Top mixed greens with roasted veggies. Add bits of goat cheese, some nuts and your favorite vinaigrette for a spectacular lunch or light dinner.
- Stuff a pita with roasted vegetables with some hummus and slices of red onion.
- Make a yummy roasted vegetable soup! Bring some vegetable broth to a simmer, add the roasted veggies and either eat as is or create a silky soup by using an immersion blender.
- Top a slice of crusty bread with roasted veggies and your favorite cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
- Add some roasted vegetables to your favorite hummus recipe. Whiz it up in your blender or food processor for a tasty and unique hummus.
- Make a delicious pannini with roasted vegetables between two slices of crusty bread along with a great cheese. Brush with olive oil, then press in your pannini maker until golden.
- Add roasted vegetables to an omelet or frittata for a great breakfast, brunch or dinner.
- Use a favorite sauce, like a yogurt sauce, tahini, or even a spicy aioli to top roasted veggies.
What’s your favorite way to eat roasted vegetables? Do you have any of your own tricks to getting the tastiest veggies?