There's no doubt my family loves vegetables; I wrote a whole cookbook of recipes for them! But truthfully, for everyday cooking I tend to favor very simple veggie dishes. I love vegetable recipes that are super easy and allow me to focus on the main dish - without risking burning it. (I'd be a terrible restaurant chef; I cannot multi task in the kitchen.) This is one reason I've favored steaming and blanching veggies. But lately, I've been roasting most of our vegetables. Not only does this up the flavor of the veggies tremendously, but it's quick and easy and requires very little attention from me. (Yay!)
If you've never roasted veggies before, you'll be happy to know they are about as easy as it gets. However, you do have to follow some basic guidelines, which you'll learn about here. (And if you've unsuccessfully roasted vegetables in the past, read on for tips about common errors.)
How to Roast Vegetables
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 450 degrees F. Do not place the vegetables in the oven until it has reached this temperature! Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven.
2. While the oven preheats, cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces. In this post, I'm showing you some roasted broccoli we ate last week, but you can roast any vegetable. Some of our personal favorites also include cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, radishes, winter squash, and onions. Also, don't feel you must stick to only one type of veggie; a mixture can be great, too. The main thing is, though, to cut the veggie pieces into approximately the same size, so they roast evenly. If you're roasting more than one type of vegetable, at first it's a good idea to choose veggies that are similar in density. For example, don't roast potatoes and summer squash together - because the potatoes are going to require more roasting time than more delicate summer squash.
3. Place the cut vegetables on the rimmed baking sheet. Don't overcrowd the veggies or they won't roast evenly. Try to leave a bit of space between each vegetable piece.
4. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Don't be stingy! It's important that all the vegetable pieces are covered in oil, since this will get them nicely browned. If necessary, adjust the vegetable pieces again, so they aren't touching.
5. Season liberally with sea salt and pepper. The salt is especially important because it help draw moisture from the veggies, resulting in a better finish.
6. Pop the baking sheet into the preheated oven and set the timer for about 10 minutes.
7. After 10 minutes, take a peek at the vegetables. If they are good and golden all over, flip them over with a spatula and close the oven door again. (If they aren't golden all over, give them a few more minutes in the oven.)
8. After about 8 minutes more (be sure to set your timer so you don't forget about the veggies and end up burning them!), check the vegetables again. If they are well browned, remove them from the oven and serve. If not, give them a few more minutes. When they are browned and caramelized, they are finished.
That's it! They don't even need a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkling of Parmesan or a little more salt or oil - or anything else, in my opinion. They are DELISH as is.
A NOTE ABOUT COOKING TIMES: Vegetables that are more dense, like potatoes and carrots, will require more roasting time than veggies that are lighter, like broccoli and summer squash. In addition, vegetables that are cut into larger pieces will take longer to cook and veggies cut into smaller pieces will take less time to cook. Check the veggies frequently if you're trying out a vegetable you've never roasted before.