If you are usually boiling or steaming your vegetables I urge you to try roasting for a change. It’s love. Really it is.
I admit this is more a wintery/ cold weather thing to do. In the summer I’m more likely to stick the veggies on the BBQ – it keeps the heat out of the house. I was concerned with the recent bit of warm weather we’ve had recently, so unseasonable for March, that my roasting days were over until the fall – but I think it is safe to say summer is not here just yet, I have a few weeks (days) of roasting left.
Roasting imparts a rich flavour to vegetables and brings out their natural sweetness. Flavour is concentrated, yet mellowed.
When I say olive oil, generally a tablespoon at the most, and you can use less. I use my hands and rub the cut veggies with the oil to ensure an even and light coating. You can also use cooking spray. I have one of those neat little refillable oil spray bottles – no propellants or other chemicals to worry about.
If you are using another liquid – soy sauce, balsamic, Braggs is nice too – toss your veggies in this liquid first then use an oil spray. Or better yet, mix all your seasonings into a dressing (vinegar, oil + spices, garlic, herbs, etc) and toss the vegetables in that.
A quick tip = any vinaigrette type salad dressing will work (not fat-free though, they taste yucky in my opinion).
Simple is really good – salt, pepper and a bit of oil is awesome. No thinking or recipe needed.
Salt – after you have oiled and arranged your veggies on your baking tray, lightly salt with coarse sea salt. I find this provides the best flavour for the least amount of salt. Or you can also salt after cooking, if you prefer.
Baking tray/dish – I usually use an old baking tray well browned and blackened from frequent use. (This is not the tray I keep for cookies). Nothing sticks to this thing so it works well for me. As does a stone baking dish (although it is a bit smaller) – again browned and blackened from lots of lovin’. If you are afraid of sticking – lay a sheet of parchment down on your tray first.
Make sure your oven has come to temperature before you put the veggies in to roast.
Here is rundown of some of my favourite roasted veggies and brief instructions:
Broccoli – drizzle with a bit to soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, salt, toss with chopped garlic if you have time – 425 for 10-15 minutes.
Cauliflower – drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and chopped garlic – 400 for 25-30 minutes.
Asparagus – olive oil and balsamic, a bit of honey is nice too, salt – 425 for 10 minutes.
Carrots – soy sauce and neutral flavoured oil – 400 for 30 minutes.
Squash – cut in half, seeds removed, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, cut-side down 350 for 45 minutes or until soft. Or cut into chunks at 350 for 30 minutes, with the addition of cinnamon or chili pepper makes a warm and cozy side dish.
Sweet potatoes – cut into half-inch cubes (perfect in this salad) – toss with soy sauce, curry powder and salt – 400 for 20 minutes, turn once.
Of course you can just to a mix of various veggies, toss them with some oil and salt and pepper and call it a day. Onions become so sweet this way. When you do this you need to be mindful of how long each individual vegetable will cook and either toss them in after the harder veggies have had a chance to cook a bit or cut them larger so they don’t get over done. I find zucchini or eggplant, while just awesome roasted, will melt into nothingness if you are not careful.
Roasted veggies puree nicely into soups…. like this one.