Cooking 101: Oven-Roasted Vegetables

21 Sep

With the advent of fall (yup, still excited about it, and will be until winter comes crawling), I always get in the mood for that caramelized, tender-crisp and buttery flavor of roasted vegetables. While fall specifically tends to make me crave root veggies — roasted sweet potatoes, squashes, parsnips and more — the simple technique of roasting veggies is clutch for any budding chef to master.

Here are the simplest steps for successful veggie roasting:

  1. Cut or trim veggies into semi-uniform pieces (for even cooking time)
  2. Coat lightly with salt, pepper and olive oil
  3. Spread veggies onto a baking sheet, and roast at 425 degrees for 10-30 minutes, or until the veggies have caramelized (browned with natural sugars) and are cooked to your liking.

That’s it! The process brings out so much of each veggie’s natural flavor while infusing them with the earthy olive oil and piquant salt & pepper combo. As Adam Roberts, a.k.a. the Amateur Gourmet, says of his take on Ina Garten’s roasted broccoli, “If parents made this broccoli for their kids, kids wouldn’t hate broccoli. They’d beg for it.”

Veg-roasting is also a killer way to stretch a dollar — pick up one sweet potato & one parsnip, slice & prepare as noted above, and boom. You have more than enough food to create a satisfying side dish for two or more, and for minimal cost. In the spirit of Jessie J, I suppose “it’s not about the money, money, money” — but saving a little never hurts!

A few of my favorite roasted veggie options:

  • Asparagus with Tomatoes (seen above): Trim asparagus by holding both ends and “bending” the stalks — they’ll naturally break at the proper point. Toss with cherry or diced tomatoes and olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast as noted above for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of lemon juice. Mmm!
  • Root Veggies: Slice sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga and red onion into steak fry-size pieces. Coat with olive oil and a drizzle of maple syrup (thanks, Gwyneth! Seriously — what would I do without your book?); roast for 30 mins to 1 hour, or until veggies have caramelized and cooked to your liking.
  • Broccoli: For a take on Ina’s heavenly broccoli, coat broccoli florets with olive oil, adding  salt & pepper to taste. Roast for 20-25 mins with 4 or 5 peeled garlic cloves. After the broccoli florets are done, toss with parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and toasted pine nuts. Consume mass quantities, coneheads.

Do y’all roast veggies in fall and winter? What are your favorites? How about some meat-and-veggie parings: Which roasted veggies to you like with your protein? Happy eating!

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5 Responses to “Cooking 101: Oven-Roasted Vegetables”

  1. Emilee September 22, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Lately I’ve been roasting broccoli with garlic 3-4 times a week, sometimes just for a snack! So simple, so delicious. but I am also super excited for root vegetables.

    • galleykitchengal September 22, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Mmm, I would totally roast broccoli as a snack too! So darn good. Let me know about your future roasting adventures. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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