How to Roast Vegetables
Raise your hand if you are just making it up as you go along. You, too? Good. I mean, we’re all proficient at some things, but think back to when you were just starting out. Your first big coupon trip? I start sweating just thinking about it. From navigating the elementary school playground to understanding your freshman college syllabus to taking a tiny person home from the hospital, life involves a certain amount of stumbling around until you figure it out.
When my husband and I got married, I was new to the whole someone-is-depending-on-me-for-dinner-every-night phenomena. It was my first Real Housewife of Hampton (no, not those Hamptons) challenge, and I was determined to do it well. Every Sunday, I would crack open my brand new cookbooks and write out a menu plan and shopping list. It felt like playing house, only instead of play money we had no money. Living on love, baby!
Anyway, back to the menu plan. I didn’t know much, but I was pretty confident every dinner plate needed to include something green. I cannot even tell you how many green salads we consumed those first few years. Hundreds. Thousands. When I wanted to get crazy, I would mix things up with green beans. It never occurred to me to buy broccoli or eggplant. I didn’t even know kale was edible (some of you might still debate this).
Well, times have changed. My cooking skills and eating preferences have come a long way. Now my refrigerator and pantry are always stocked with some combination of root vegetables: carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, or beets. I even bought parsnips for the first time the other day.
I also adore sturdy, dependable vegetables like cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. All of these options are economical and versatile. As if that weren’t enough, they also have a long shelf life which is great when trying to stretch your grocery dollars.
One of the simplest ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them. Just peel and cut the vegetables, toss with olive oil, season with salt or herbs, and slide them into the oven. Roasting vegetables in a hot oven concentrates the flavors, making them sweeter and stronger, crisp on the edges and soft in the middle. In a word: delicious.
Root vegetables are the most common for roasting, but many other vegetables, such as green beans, snap peas, or bell peppers, can be cooked this way, too. I used to think raw broccoli and cauliflower tasted like the vegetable version of sawdust, but I love both of them when roasted. Take note, fellow broccoli haters.
Once you have the hang of this basic technique, you will be able to prepare everything from brussel sprouts to sweet potatoes with very little effort and consistently great results. From there, you could experiment with other additions like maple syrup, herbs, nuts, or vinaigrettes.
Every time I serve a side dish of roasted vegetables, my husband is one happy man. It’s like a party in my mouth! That sounds really strange typed out, but I know one thing: he never said that about a single salad or green bean I served. So if you are making it up as you go along in the vegetables-for-dinner department, make this next time. Then add roasting vegetables to the list of skills you have officially mastered.
Basic Roasted Vegetables
2 lbs. vegetables (most root vegetables can be mixed together as long as they are cut the same size)
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and cut vegetables into roughly 2″ pieces. Toss the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can do this in a separate bowl with a spoon or directly on the baking sheet with your hands.
- Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd the pan!
- Slide the sheet into the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning once with a spatula in the middle of the baking time. Remove from oven when the vegetables are fork tender and light brown.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Beets are the strong personalities of the vegetable world. Our kids won’t touch them, but my husband and I love their sweet, earthy flavor. Roasting the beets, along with garlic cloves, is our favorite way to prepare them. Topped with creamy feta or goat cheese? Perfection.
Frugal Living NW Roasting Recipes:
Other Delicious Roasting Recipes:
- Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad (Smitten Kitchen)
- Roasted Potatoes & Broccoli Gribiche (a Heidi Swanson recipe via Stacey Snacks)
- Roasted Vegetable Spread (Food Network)
- Chicken Diablo Burgers with Roasted Red Peppers (The Oregonian’s FoodDay)
Heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets are perfect for roasting vegetables. Amazon has this inexpensive #1-rated Nordic Ware Bakers Sheet in stock and ready to ship!
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