As grilling vegetables is to summer, so roasting vegetables is to fall and
winter. Not only does the cooler weather make it a wonderful time to turn on
the oven for an hour, but the veggies available in fall are practically
designed to be roasted. Many roasted vegetable recipes call for favorite fall
vegetables like carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts,
turnips, winter squash, eggplant, and more.
For diet-conscious folks, roasted vegetables add wonderful flavors to dishes
without a lot of fat and calories. Roasted veggies like garlic, potatoes, and
carrots can also work wonders as fat substitutes in recipes for mashed
potatoes, sauces, cream soups, and casseroles.
The process of roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables and
intensifies their natural flavors. Think about how wonderful roasted onions;
carrots; red, orange, or yellow peppers; eggplant; and asparagus taste. Roasted
garlic is another perfect example. While raw garlic is pungent, roasted garlic
has a sweeter, milder flavor. You might be hard pressed to choke down a clove
of raw garlic, but you can spread six cloves of roasted garlic over a slice of
bread as you would butter.
To me, there's no comparison between steamed vegetables and roasted
vegetables. Roasted veggies have browning, carmelization, and crisping
happening, while steamed ones are just cooked. Roasted vegetables are just more
tantalizing to most all of the senses -- sight, taste, smell, and even
How to Roast Vegetables
You might have had roasted vegetables at a restaurant or friend's house that
seemed to be nearly as much oil as veggies. But roasted vegetables really don't
need to be made with a lot of oil. Here are the four basic vegetable roasting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil, and coat the
foil with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Cut your vegetables into small
chunks or hearty bite-sized pieces.
Add vegetables in a single layer to the foil-lined pan and spray the top
with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of canola or olive oil (use no more
than a teaspoon of oil for every cup of vegetables). If you use oil, toss the
veggies about on the pan to coat as much of them with oil as possible.
Sprinkle on any desired seasonings, such as rosemary or basil, parsley,
marjoram, salt and pepper. Coat the tops of your veggies again with canola or
olive oil cooking spray, if desired, especially if you didn't drizzle with oil
in Step 2.
Bake until veggies are lightly browned in areas, and tender. If your
vegetables look like they are starting to dry out during the roasting period,
drizzle some broth, apple juice, or low-fat Italian dressing or vinaigrette
over the top. Different vegetables require different cooking times. Check your
roasted vegetables after 25-30 minutes (this is probably the halfway point),
turn them over with a spatula, then cook until they're tender and nicely
browned around some of the edges (about 25-30 minutes more.)