‘Tis the season for oven-roasted vegetables. This method of preparing veggies is one of the easiest and most delicious. Roasting (i.e. baking in the oven at a high temperature) brings out all the natural flavors of vegetables and intensifies them. The process also creates caramelization and a nice, crunchy exterior.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, and red onion are all prime choices for roasting. (Photo courtesy Amelia Crook on Flickr)
While the ingredients couldn’t be simpler – all you need is olive oil and salt – vegetables often require different cooking times to roast evenly. As a general rule, root vegetables like carrots or turnips take longer to roast while more delicate veggies like onions or broccoli cook up quickly.
In a pre-heated 450-degree oven, these vegetables share similar cooking times and taste great together:
- Baby squash, bell peppers, and zucchini – 10-15 minutes
- Broccoli, garlic, radishes – 10-15 minutes
- Carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes – 30-40 minutes
- Parsnips, carrots, new potatoes – 30-40 minutes
- Cherry tomatoes, eggplant, garlic – 15-20 minutes
- Aim for all the vegetables you roast together to be about the same size. For example, if you choose to roast cherry tomatoes with eggplant, leave the cherry tomatoes whole and cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes.
- Craving a pairing that has different roasting times? No problem. Put the vegetables that require more cooking in the oven first, then add the fast-cooking veggies later.
- For a healthier option, skip the oil. You can use chicken stock or even a bit of water to cover the bottom of the roasting pan and prevent sticking. If you do use oil, make sure it’s olive oil: this healthy fat has a higher burning point safe for roasting.
- Don’t pile up the pan. Vegetables need space to roast – arrange them in a single layer with room to breathe for best results.
- Flip the vegetables halfway through, if possible, to allow for the most even cooking.
- You don’t just have to use salt! Try out other spices like pepper, rosemary, thyme, or cumin for an added layer of flavor.
- Roasted veggies are more than a side. You can puree them to create a flavorful, luscious soup using a food processor and a bit of liquid like chicken stock, cream, or water.