I just moved to a new apartment. We’ve got plastic on the windows, but it’s still chilly. Accordingly, I’ve been roasting a lot of vegetables.
Huh? What? Well, I get to keep the oven on for a long time – a little extra heat, and the added benefit of tasty dinner!
The beauty of roasted vegetables is manifold. No specialty equipment needed – a cookie tray, a Pyrex dish, whatever you’ve got around works just fine. No expensive ingredients – unless you want to get fancy, in which case the sky’s the limit. And an infinite variety of naturally gluten-free flavors and textures, to keep things interesting all winter long.
One of the key tricks to successfully roasted vegetables is ensuring that everything cooks evenly. There are two complimentary methods for doing this:
- Choose vegetables of similar consistency (all root vegetables, for example)
- Keep pieces approximately the same size (if your carrots are cut into coin-sized discs, don’t mix them with toy-car chunks of turnip)
If you’re playing with different textures – cauliflower and carrots, say – you’ll want to leave the quicker-cooking veggies in larger pieces. Or, keep them on separate trays and mix them once cooked.
Once your veggies are cleaned and cut, here’s what happens:
- Toss quickly with a bit of nice oil and a pinch of salt, plus any herbs you like.
- Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan or tray. If your tray isn’t nonstick, you may want to line it with parchment paper.
- You might want to cover the veggies loosely with foil, if you don’t want them too browned. I like to start mine covered and remove the foil about halfway through.
- Place in a 375 degree oven. Adjust the temperature up slightly if you’re using very small pieces, or down slightly for larger pieces.
- Check every fifteen minutes or so, giving a quick rustle with a heatproof spoon to keep the heat distribution even and prevent sticking.
- When they look pretty (30-90 minutes), take a piece out and test for done-ness. Don’t forget to let it cool first!
- Serve warm or room temp, today, tomorrow or the day after.
A few of my favorite combinations:
- Fennel, onions, carrots and cauliflower
- Plum or grape tomatoes roasted, then topped with aged balsamic or lots of cracked black pepper and grated asiago cheese
- Squash, topped with cinnamon, sugar and maple syrup
- Brussels sprouts, cut in half and tossed with a bit of honey, oil and Sriracha sauce before roasting
- Mushrooms with parsley and garlic
Francis Lam has a great article on his love of roasted vegetables on Salon.com. What veggies do you like to roast?