~ Roasted Vegetables are an easy side dish solution, and so very flavorful. The caramelization that happens during the oven roasted cooking process yields sweeter, more complex veggies that even veggie-suspicious people can really embrace. We’ve got 16 delicious recipe ideas for you to try … from the very simplest of side dishes to holiday must-haves, and even veggie-filled main courses! ~
Most Recipes Are: Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Vegan (and Vegetarian) • Gluten Free • Many Recipes Are Also: Paleo •
What turns even the humblest of vegetables into something about 1000x more delicious?
And what makes moms marvel, “My kids were literally fighting over the last piece of broccoli!” (YES, this actually happens!)
The answer is elegantly simple: Roasting!
Roasting is Vegetable Magic
If you hang around my website a lot, you know I like to call roasting “magic” for creating delicious vegetables that even kiddos love.
I’ve sworn by this magic for years.
And on plenty of occasions, I’ve overheard my mom-friends discussing how shockingly much their own kids adore roasted vegetables, too … how even their picky eaters fight over that last spear of oven roasted broccoli.
No doubt. This magic is real.
It’s all because of the caramelization that happens as those nice little toasty brown spots develop in your oven. That process equals big, delicious flavor. It transforms your vegetables into something altogether more complex and delicious than where the raw veggies began.
I Can Help You Make FANTASTIC Roasted Vegetables!
Oven roasting is pretty much my #1 most favorite way to make veggies.
I probably roast up some sort of vegetable at least once or twice each week. No kidding!
And, over the years, I’ve tried so many different ways of prepping, seasoning, and serving them.
I’ve learned a lot along the way. So, for sure … I’ve got oodles of tips, tricks, and suggestions to share with you!
From perfecting very simple recipes that basically require 1 main ingredient (you know … a vegetable!). To whipping up creative re-imaginings of everything from nachos to pizza fries. And even to making main dishes that beautifully showcase all the deep, satisfying flavors roasted vegetables have to offer.
First stop: check out the recipe ideas below. (Yum yum yum) And then: head further down, to the end of this post, for lots of common FAQs and tips for making perfect roasted vegetables!
Roasted Vegetables: FAQs & Tips
Roasting temperatures for vegetables can vary from about 350°F to 500°F, depending on the exact recipe and the type of veggies you’re roasting. It also can depend on the results you’re shooting for. Do you want soft, slow-roasted vegetables? If so, then you’ll want to roast at the cooler end of the temperature range. But (if you’re like me), you want veggies that still have a bit of texture, along with plenty of roasty-toasty, flavorful caramelized spots. In that case, you’ll want to roast in the higher heat range, above 400°F. My go-to temperature is usually 475°F.
To roast vegetables, the general steps are:
1) Cut the vegetables into similar sizes and shapes, so they roast uniformly, and make sure they’re patted dry, if needed (so they roast instead of steam).
2) Toss the veggies with a little oil and your seasonings (typically at least salt and pepper, but this can include all sorts of other dried herbs and spices, too).
3) Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on a baking sheet, so they’re not piled on top of each other.
4) Flip the vegetables once during the roasting process.
5) Serve with any sauces, drizzles or fresh herbs you desire.
You will almost always want to stir or flip vegetables once during the roasting process, about halfway through. This increases the number of surfaces that will develop those deliciously golden brown, caramelized spots. One exception: I don’t bother to flip asparagus.
Large cookie sheets or sheet pans are ideal for roasting vegetables. For the best results, you want to choose large pans (again, like cookie sheets) so the vegetables can be spread apart. If the vegetables are crowded together or piled on top of each other, they’ll tend to steam more than really roast, and they won’t be able to develop the caramelized bits that make roasted veggies so delicious.
Always roast vegetables uncovered. If you cover them, moisture will be trapped inside and the vegetables will end up being mushier and they won’t properly caramelize and brown.
Yes, it’s best to season roasted vegetables with at least salt and pepper before roasting. Additionally, you can also toss them with other dried spices and seasonings, before they go in the oven. After roasting, you can always add a pinch more seasoning if it’s needed. And, any fresh herbs should be added after roasting (not before).
There are pluses and minuses to roasting vegetables on parchment paper. The biggest benefit of using parchment is the easy cleanup. Some people feel you get even better caramelization if you roast directly on the baking sheet itself (especially one that’s been pre-heated, along with the oven). But, I find that I can strike a perfect balance by roasting at a high heat (usually 475°F) for good caramelization while doing so on parchment (so cleanup’s a breeze).
There are several keys to ensuring that oven roasted vegetables are tender but not soggy.
1) Be sure they’re not wet. Pat them dry if needed. This will help to prevent them from actually steaming, more than roasting.
2) Use a little oil, but not too much. You’re shooting for all the vegetables to have a thin slick of oil all over the outside. But it’s important to avoid drowning the veggies in excessive puddles of oil.
3) Be sure the vegetables are spread out on the pan, and not clustered together or piled on top of each other. Again, this is to prevent steaming and promote good browning. Use a second baking sheet if you need to.
4) Roast at a higher heat. (I generally suggest 475°F.) This will help the vegetables to develop caramelized spots more quickly, before the interiors are completely overcooked and mushy.
It’s all about the caramelization, which happens during roasting as the sugar in the vegetables (yep … vegetables DO have sugars) are heated to a point where their colors and flavors are changed (deliciously). As Bon Appétit so perfectly explains, “When sugars caramelize, they develop nuttiness, bitterness, toastiness, and even a little bit of buttery creaminess.” Yeah … YUM!