How to roast vegetables


Photo by Grace Vance

Grace Vance

Although this past weekend’s weather was beautiful, the frigid temperatures will soon come creeping back, and for me, making a plethora of roasted vegetables is key to a wonderful diner and calm, cozy goodness. Nothing is better than that when it’s cold out, right?
Now, I admit, most people know how to roast vegetables, but the difference here is how long you cook them. A lot of people roast them until they are soft, but if you cook them until lightly browned and perfectly caramelized, then you will really enjoy your vegetable dish to it’s fullest potential. Once you see the edges get all nice and crispy you know they are ready to come out. Most people avoid vegetables because they think they are bland tasting with two dimensional flavor, but what makes roasting them correctly so great is you get such a complexity of flavors all at once. A sweet and bold caramel flavor that drips with richness, all coming from the simplicity of a vegetable.
Get ready to crank up the temperature of your oven, chop chop chop and sit back and relax until your veggies are nice and browned. But before you get into the kitchen to prep the ingredients, take a look at my tips for success every time!

  1. Everything takes time, including when you roast vegetables. As I mentioned above, it really does make a difference how long you keep the veggies in the oven. Just like when you’re making cake, you don’t want to take it out of the oven too early. The same thing applies to roasting. There are many ways to cook vegetables but I believe to fully enjoy them with this way of cooking, you must let them sit in the oven until those crispy, browned edges appear.
  2. Get creative with the variety of vegetables you roast. In recent years I have roasted many different kind of vegetables with different textures and tastes, but the best veggies I  have roasted are sweet potatoes (chopped up and roasted or baked) carrots, turnips, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, beets, cauiflower, onions and many more! Start out with one of your favorite veggies and see how it roasts up!
  3. Accent your food. Don’t be afraid to give your food bold flavor. Mix in different kinds of oils, add a little bit of herbs or load a bunch of spices onto your vegetable of choice to roast. Sometimes it’s even nice to add a touch of pure maple syrup to the mix for sweeter vegetables like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes! Keep things creative in the kitchen and don’t be afraid to make something your own. But, with that said, be sure to flavor everything to taste.
  4. Save money by purchasing seasonal produce and using the ingredients you already have on hand. Maybe you have a variety of vegetables such as broccoli, carrots or beets. Almost any vegetables taste great when roasted together in the same pan. The same goes for the spices you have on hand, just make sure to coordinate the flavor of the vegetable with the spice.  Have fun with the variety of colors and flavors and you could easily make it a festive rainbow of food perfect for any holiday table!
  5. Don’t be freaked out if you open the oven door to see that your vegetables look burnt. Let them cook. If they have been in the oven for less than an hour, then you should be fine. The goal is to get nicely browned vegetables, but if they are completely shriveled up and black then you over cooked them. A good even brownness with the color of the vegetable showing through is what you want.

Below is a recipe for one of my favorite vegetables to roast: brussels sprouts. I love the sweet caramel-ness in contrast to the crisp smokiness of the sprouts once their roasted! Another bonus is how nutrient dense they are. According to an article from The World’s Healthiest Foods, one cup of cooked sprouts contains 243 percent of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C and folate, along with many other nutrients. And all of this comes in with only about 60 calories! With all that nutrition you can’t feel bad after polishing off a couple helpings of these.
Before roasting…
Photo by Grace Vance
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
makes 1 large pan depending on how many sprouts you purchase
1-2 pounds brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp oil of you choice (you can decrease this amount as you wish, but we aware that the oil helps create those crispy edges)
salt and pepper to taste (I also love to add a few pinches of cayenne powder!)
2 tsp herb or 1 tsp of  your choice of spices to taste (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven the 400 F.
  2. Prep your veggies by chopping the ends off of the sprouts. Place in a large pan. You can also cut the brussel sprouts in half or fourths to make them cook faster, just make sure they don’t blacken too much or they will not taste good.
  3. Once the vegetables are all chopped and in the pan, slowly pour the oil over top, then add in the salt, pepper and optional cayenne, herbs or spices.
  4. With a spoon, mix all the ingredients until the sprouts are evenly coated with oil and place into the oven. Half way through the roasting time, about at the 30 minute mark, stir the sprouts enough to rearrange them so all the sides get evenly browned. I like to use a long wooden spoon when doing this so that when I stir the sprouts it is easier to reach.
  5. Depending on how small you chopped the sprouts, it generally takes an hour for them to fully tenderize and lightly crisp up. Store in a bowl or cup with plastic wrap covering it. To reheat: microwave for 30-40 seconds or place in an pan and cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes but be very careful to watch and make sure they do not burn.

After roasting…
Photo by Grace Vance
Over the years I have made roasted vegetables, namely roasted brussels sprouts, so much that they have become the trusty side dish, or even part of the main dish that my family serves during the holidays. But if you’re like me, no matter if it’s cold out or the holidays, there is no bad time to make roasted vegetables. I hope the tips and recipe help you channel your inner veggie roasting skills and learn to love making them as much and as often as I do!
By Grace Vance
Photos by Grace Vance
What vegetables are you going to try to roast?