Roasting vegetables results in artful platters that can vary, depending on the time of year and what vegetables and seasonings you have on hand. The results are assuredly likable and full of flavor, no matter what the mix.
How to Roast Assorted Vegetables
1. Clean the vegetables you plan to roast with cool water and pat dry. Cut into bite-size wedges, cubes, strips, florets, or pieces. The pieces should be similar in size to promote even cooking. Plan on 6 cups raw vegetables for six to eight side-dish servings.
Tip: For green beans, precook the beans in boiling water before roasting to keep them from getting dry and shriveled (roasting time: 8 to 10 minutes).
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F or to the temperature specified in your recipe. Hearty vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, parsnips, fennel, carrots, onions, and cauliflower need a little extra roasting time, so put them in a shallow roasting pan, a 15x10x1-inch baking pan, or a 13x9x2-inch baking pan first.
Tip: For easier cleanup, line the pan with foil or parchment paper before adding the vegetables.
3. Oil helps to keep the vegetables from drying out and encourages the browning that adds flavor and beauty. For roughly 6 cups vegetables, use about 1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil. You can season the oil simply with salt and ground black pepper or as desired. A favorite oil mixture: 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves), 1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Drizzle the seasoned oil over the vegetables in the baking pan and toss to coat.
4. Roast the vegetables, uncovered, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven and add quicker-cooking vegetables such as eggplant, sweet peppers, roma tomatoes, asparagus, precooked green beans (see tip above), zucchini, and summer squash. Toss gently to combine. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 5 to 15 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender and brown on the edges, stirring occasionally. The timings will depend on the vegetables you use and your oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss 12 to 15 halved roma tomatoes in about 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until skins shrivel and start to brown (about 20 minutes). These are tasty as is or coarsely chopped and added to pasta, salads, soups, and omelets.
Carrots are made for roasting. They are high in natural sugars, so they just get sweeter and more glorious as they brown. Plus, they are fairly forgiving if you don't get the timing just right.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 or 450 degrees F.
2. Scrub or peel and trim 10 medium carrots for six side-dish servings. With a chef's knife, thinly bias-slice the carrots. You should have about 5 cups carrot slices.
3. For a tasty chili-lime seasoning, crush 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle, or place them in a sealed small plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. In a large bowl combine carrots, 1/4 cup olive oil; the crushed cumin seeds; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 3/4 teaspoon sea salt; 3/4 teaspoon chili powder; and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Toss to coat.
4. Transfer the seasoned carrots to a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Beets are another vegetable that handles roasting well. Cover the baking dish and use a slightly lower oven temperature to keep them from drying out.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut tops off the beets and trim the root ends. Wash beets thoroughly. If using small beets, cut into 1- to 1-1/2-inch wedges. Place the beets in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Plan on 3-1/2 to 4 pounds beets for eight side-dish servings. If desired, add 3 sprigs fresh thyme and 6 cloves garlic that have been peeled.
3. Drizzle beets with about 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and ground black pepper, tossing to coat. Cover the dish with foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until tender. A good doneness test is that the tip of a sharp knife should easily slide into a beet when tender.
4. Uncover the beets and let cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes. If using small beets, remove skins by wrapping the wedges, one at a time, in a paper towel and gently rubbing off the skins (use new paper towels as needed). Baby beets do not need to be peeled.
5. If desired, chop the roasted garlic and combine it with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drizzle the mixture atop the beets and toss to coat.