Friday, March 2, 2012

Roasted Vegetables

I love one-dish dinners.  They're filling and simple.  One of my favorites that I go to when guests are coming or I'm feeling the need for a wholesome, veggie-packed meal is Roasted Vegetables.  It's vegan, gluten free, nutritious, and super yummy.  Plus, I try to use vegetables that I don't often eat - parsnips and beets being two examples.  Most vegetables take on a flavor that's hard not to love when they are roasted.  I usually make this as a main course but you could have it as a side as well, just simplify it and don't include as many types of veggies.

The chopping process can take a little bit of time, but the simplicity of the ingredients really shine through.  You could easily prep your vegetables ahead of time as well.  Here's a rough outline of how I go about the process.

Pick Your Vegetables: Sometimes I make the mistake of trying to have too many types of veggies.  3-5 varieties is best.  Sometimes it's nice to go with bright, contrasting colors (see last photo) while other times I try to have more muted, neutral colors like the one below.

Make a basting dressing: That's basically a fancy name for what I mix the vegetables in before roasting them.  This helps the vegetables to caramelize as well as giving them an additional depth of flavor.  It usually consists of the following:
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt/pepper
  • seasonings (garlic herb, thyme, rosemary, basil, a dash of cayenne)
  • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, etc.  You can add these before or after roasting.)
Plan your baking times: Not all vegetables bake at the same rates.  I normally start with my root vegetables (potatoes first) that will take longer and then move on to the softer veggies such as onions, asparagus, or peppers.  I also check a roasting chart such as this one or this one.

Baking method: Roasting is accomplished at around 450 F.  There are two ways to go about roasting your veggies.  One is simpler and the other improves caramelization.  I've used both methods but I usually prefer the second if I have enough time.
  1. Start with your longer-cooking veggies and then add in the other veggies as needed.  For example, start with your potatoes, which need about 30-45 minutes.  When 20 minutes has passed, stir your potatoes and then add your carrots and onions.  After another 10 minutes, add your asparagus.   By the end, your pan will be very filled.  This has pros and cons.  It is easier and less time consuming.  However, a higher vegetable to pan surface ratio increases the delicious caramelization that occurs when the vegetables are in direct contact with the hot surface of the pan.  This can be enhanced by using the second method.
  2. Place vegetables on several cookie sheets.  Avoid overcrowding them.  Remove each vegetable type after they have roasted and add in the next type on it's own.  This method is the best for flavor and caramelization.  Sometimes I'll combine two different vegetable types if the roasting times are similar.  When everything has cooked, you'll combine all the different veggies and reheat for just a few minutes more. 


  1. Incredible! I love roasted vegetables. This inspires me to put a dash more of creativity in my recipe of roasting things. :)

  2. Yum! I need to try this sometime.