How to Roast Vegetables
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 can easily feed a crowd or just a couple, and it lets you choose the vegetables.
Choosing Your Vegetables
Best Veggies: Some vegetables especially benefit from roasting, such as onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, carrots, and other hearty root vegetables, but most vegetables will work. Tender vegetables, such as asparagus and mushrooms, also transform in the heat of the oven.
Less-Good Veggies: Green beans, broccoli, and other green-hue vegetables are not as well suited for roasting because they tend to turn olive green, and the 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.
- Temp: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roasting vegetables should be done at high heat so they caramelize on the outside. If the oven temperature is too low, the vegetables will overcook before achieving the desired browning.
- Pan: A heavy 13x9-inch roasting pan works well for roasting vegetables, but you can also use a large baking pan. To keep cleanup to a minimum, line the pan with foil. Place the vegetables that take the longest to cook in the pan. Do not crowd the vegetables or they will steam instead of roast. If you like, add 1 or 2 heads garlic with the tops trimmed off, several sprigs of thyme, and/or snipped fresh rosemary, oregano, or sage.
- Mixture: Tossing the vegetables with a seasoned oil mixture keeps them from drying out and helps to flavor the vegetables. In a small bowl combine olive oil with lemon juice, salt, and ground black pepper. Drizzle the seasoned oil over the vegetables in the pan and toss lightly to coat all of the vegetables. A basting brush also works well to help coat the vegetables with the oil.
- Technique: Roast the vegetables, uncovered, about 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables with shorter cooking times. Toss to combine and return to the oven. Continue to cook about 10 to 15 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender and brown on the edges, stirring occasionally. The timings here are approximate and will depend on the vegetables you choose.
|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 thin strips.||40 to 45 minutes (Thin strips may cook faster.)|
|Parsnips||Trim and peel parsnips. Cut into bite-size pieces or thin strips.||40 to 45 minutes (Thin strips may cook faster.)|
|New potatoes or regular potatoes||Whole tiny new potatoes, quartered, work especially well. For larger 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 thin wedges.||30 to 45 minutes|
|Fennel||Trim the stalks and cut a thin slice from the bottom of the bulb. Cut bulb into 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|