25 September 2019Here is the key to roasted vegetables made easy!
If I had a nickel for every time a client sheepishly confessed or boldly proclaimed to me they really don't like vegetables, I'd be a rich woman! I get it. Given the chance, who wouldn't go for a dinner roll or cookie over a carrot stick. But think about it, have you noticed that when you eat more veggies, you feel much better? Yes, veggies give us a powerhouse of nutrients sans the calories, plus fiber to keep our digestive system happy. Last night, I had dinner with fellow foodies, and we had roasted veggies as an appetizer. Everyone was remarking about how delicious the roasted mushrooms and cauliflower were! Are these humans from the same planet as the veggie haters?
Yes, roasting vegetables can transform this food group into yumminess that you and the whole family will be fighting for at the table. When I get together with my niece, Angie from Seattle, we often talk food. Along with being an avid cook, she is director of food service with the Myers Group, managing delis and bakeries in the retail grocery industry around the country. Angie shared with me that one year, she made a resolution to eat more veggies and to try a new veggie every week. She discovered how easy and delicious roasting vegetables was, and that all of a sudden, her kids were magically eating cauliflower, mushrooms and yes, even Brussel's sprouts.
Angie has the advantage of working with chefs and foodies around the country who love to cook and she has gathered ideas from them on how to perfect veggie roasting. What better person to interview about roasting veggies made easy. Here are Angie's practical tips and expert advice on roasting veggies:
- Roast veggies at 400 degreesF. If you have a convection oven, put it on convection heat for even faster roasting.
- Wash the veggies and cut up into uniform pieces. Place them on a clean kitchen towel to dry a bit.
- Coat the veggies with oil. Angie uses olive oil. (You can actually use your oil of choice that has a high smoke point - canola or grapeseed (neutral flavor), avocado, sunflower, or walnut all have high smoke points. These oils all have their own unique tastes and mouth feels, and are all heart healthy. Some are more easy on the pocket book than others. For more info on choosing oils, check out Donna's blog on Plant-based oils.)
- You can toss the veggies in a sealed plastic bag or in a bowl with a lid. Don't get carried away with the oil because that just makes them soggy and adds a lot of calories. (Remember, there are about 120 calories per tablespoon of oil! It adds up quickly!)
- Use an aluminum sheet pan with an edge so the veggies stay in the pan and you don't drip oil in the oven.
- Angie is not a fan of parchment paper because the veggies get a better crunch without it. She mentioned that her husband, also an avid cook, loves to use parchment paper for easier clean up. Angie feels that parchment makes them a teeny bit soggy and she doesn't mind scrubbing the pan. Personal choice.
- Roasting time is also going to vary by individual taste. Many people like the charred taste so she roasts a little longer but suggests experimenting with it.
Angie's favorite veggie roasting hacks:
Brussel's sprouts -Wash and dry. Cut in half, toss with oil, salt/pepper and maybe add minced garlic for extra flavor. Roast for 20-25 minutes for charred leaves, 15-20 if you don't like charred. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over them after roasting for added flavor.
Asparagus - Break off the woody ends, toss in oil, salt/pepper and roast for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick they are.
Carrots - Using bulk carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks, toss in oil, salt/pepper and roast about 15-20 minutes. If you over roast, they get mushy, but if you under roast they are hard and crunchy. Carrots are amazing - they get sweeter as they roast and are not mushy like cooked/steamed carrots. Baby carrots work too. Many people willingly eat roasted carrots while shunning steamed ones.
Cauliflower - Angie's favorite - Cut into bite-sized pieces, toss in oil, salt/pepper and roast for about 20-30 minutes. Add some grated or shaved hard cheese like parmesan (not out of a plastic canister) at the last 5 minutes of roasting for a little extra crunchy yumminess.
Broccoli - Cut into bite-size pieces, toss in oil, salt/pepper, and roast for about 10-15 minutes. The broccoli shrivels a bit, but the added crunch is delicious and different than steamed broccoli. You can add pine nuts to the broccoli and roast them together. When done, add dried cranberries.
Roasted Potatoes - Angie prefers red or Yukon gold varieties, but honestly, any potato or squash works for roasting. Cut into one-inch pieces, toss in oil, salt/pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes. If cut smaller, roasting time is shorter. She frequently tosses fresh rosemary sprigs in the mix before roasting.
Beets - One of Angie's favorites. Make them the same way as roasted potatoes. You can get different colored beets. Word of caution - they are a bit messy to peel and cube.
Tomatoes - Cut in half and remove seeds. Lay on sheet pan and drizzle with oil, salt/pepper and any seasoning of choice, like an Italian blend or minced garlic. Roast for about 10 minutes. These can be eaten warm or chilled. You can put them on top of a sliced baguette with a soft spreadable cheese. Angie's favorites are grape or Campari tomatoes.
Mixed veggies - Mix chunks of onion, red pepper, broccoli, and green cabbage (yes, you can roast green cabbage too!). Toss in oil, salt/pepper. The key is to cut the variety of veggies to roughly the same size for uniform roasting. Add a protein like cooked, sliced chicken sausage or mix with quinoa for an instant dinner. Delicious both hot or cold!
Roasted veggies is simple and fast!
Angie shares that roasting is the main way they prepare vegetables these days - very simple, fast and they hold up in the refrigerator much longer than fresh veggies. If you don't have the time or desire for cutting veggies, most produce departments have already cut veggies ready for tossing and roasting. Do what works for you!
Angie mentions that canned/frozen corn, green beans and salads used to be a staple at their dinner table. These options have been replaced with roasted veggies and the variety of veggies they eat has expanded. Thanks Angie for sharing awesome practical veggie roasting tips!
Not sure about you, but I am inspired to keep on roasting! I personally love a lunch salad of leftover roasted veggies with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic. I add a dollop of cottage cheese for extra protein and am happy as can be. I personally love to experiment with seasoning blends on my roasted veggies. Roasting veggies is simple, easy, yummy and healthy!
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