Roasting vegetables in a very hot oven gives them a caramelized exterior and flavor while keeping the inside moist and tender. This showy cooking method easily feeds a crowd or just a couple, and it lets you choose the vegetables.
-If you thought you didn't like a particular veggie or have struggled to get kids to eat their vegetables, perhaps all you need to know is how to roast vegetables. You can roast virtually any veggie including cauliflower. Begin by peeling off outer leaves. Remove the stem and cut florettes off the head. Spread cauliflower into a shallow baking pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Drizzle the veggies with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper or whatever seasonings you desire. Toss to be sure everything is evenly coated. Place pan in a 450-degree oven for 20 minutes or until crisp tender, stirring once or twice. When cauliflower is done, it will have beautiful browning. You can enjoy it as soon as it's cool enough to eat or sprinkle with a bit of parmesan for added flavor. No one will ever again have to tell you to eat your vegetables now that you know how to roast them for delicious sweet flavor. You'll be eating them by the bowl full.
Some vegetables especially benefit from roasting, such as onions, potatoes, carrots, and other hearty root vegetables, but most vegetables will work. Green beans, broccoli, and other green-hue vegetables are less suited for roasting because they tend to turn olive green, and green beans shrivel before becoming tender. A real benefit to roasting is the ability to cook a combination of colorful vegetables, resulting in a full-flavor side dish or meatless entree. Use this chart of favorite roasting vegetables as a guide.
Tip: If you prefer, you can omit the heads of garlic and fresh herbs from the vegetable mixture in the pan and add minced garlic and snipped fresh herbs or dried herbs (1 tablespoon snipped fresh herb equals 1 teaspoon dried herb) to the oil mixture.
|Vegetables for Roasting||Preparation||Approximate Roasting Times at 450 degrees F. Roast vegetables until crisp-tender.|
|Carrots||Trim and peel or scrub baby carrots or regular carrots. Cut regular carrots into bite-size pieces or julienne strips.||40 to 45 minutes (julienne strips may cook faster)|
|Parsnips||Trim and peel parsnips. Cut into bite-size pieces or julienne strips.||40 to 45 minutes (julienne strips may cook faster)|
|New potatoes or regular potatoes||Whole tiny new potatoes, quartered, work especially well. For large potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces. Peeling is not necessary, but scrub well before using.||40 to 45 minutes|
|Sweet potatoes||Scrub and peel. Cut into bite-size pieces.||40 to 45 minutes|
|Onions||Remove papery outer layer. Cut into fairly thin wedges.||30 to 45 minutes|
|Fennel||Trim the stalks and cut a thin slice from the bottom of the bulb. Cut bulb into fairly thin wedges.||30 to 40 minutes|
|Brussels sprouts||Trim stems and remove any wilted outer leaves; wash. Cut any large sprouts in half lengthwise.||30 to 40 minutes|
|Baby beets or regular beets||Scrub and peel beets. Trim off stem and root ends. If desired, halve or quarter baby beets. Cut regular beets into 1-inch pieces.||30 to 40 minutes (you may want to cover the beets if they start to burn).|
|Roma tomatoes||Wash and halve lengthwise.||20 to 30 minutes|
|Zucchini, pattypan, or yellow summer squash||Baby zucchini, pattypan, or summer squash can be roasted whole. For larger squash, cut into bite-size pieces or slices.||10 to 15 minutes|
|Small eggplant||Peel if desired. Cut into quarters lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.||10 to 15 minutes|
|Sweet peppers, regular size or small||For regular-size peppers, wash, seed, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. For small peppers, if desired, roast whole, then remove stems and seeds.||10 to 15 minutes|
|Asparagus||Wash and break off woody bases where spears snap easily. Leave spears whole or cut into 1-inch pieces.||10 to 15 minutes|
|Baby leeks||Trim and halve lengthwise. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.||10 to 15 minutes|
|Cauliflower||Wash and remove leaves and woody stem. Break into florets.||10 to 15 minutes|