One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is to roast them in the oven. Roasting vegetables at a high temperature caramelizes their sugars and brings out their natural sweetness. As the vegetables roast, they brown on the outside, become buttery soft on the inside and their flavors intensify. I usually make a couple of large trays of them and store them in the refrigerator so that I can snack on them throughout the week. They’re great with rice or quinoa or as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. I also like to add them to salads, sandwiches, quesadillas and pasta dishes.
My Perfect Oven-Roasted Vegetables are colorful, delicious and packed with nutrients. For this version, I used a mixture of bell peppers, zucchini, carrots and red onion but you can use your favorite combination of vegetables. I simply toss them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. I also like to throw some whole garlic cloves on the pan along with the other vegetables. As the garlic roasts, the flavor mellows out and it becomes soft and sweet. In the winter I make the same dish but with heartier vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and butternut squash. Asparagus, beets, fennel, brussel sprouts and cauliflower are some other great options for roasting.
- Preheat the oven to a relatively high temperature. Depending on the type of vegetable, this can be anywhere from 375-450 degrees F. I typically roast vegetables at 400-425 degrees F.
- Cut the vegetables into similar size pieces so they cook evenly. I like to cut vegetables like zucchini and carrots on a diagonal- the greater surface area will give you more caramelization.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and season them with salt, pepper and any spices. The oil helps the browning process.
- Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet in a single layer to maximize the caramelization. The parts of the vegetable that comes into contact with the pan or the hot air of the oven get the most intense heat so don’t overcrowd the pan or they will steam instead of brown.
- Roast the vegetables in the upper 1/3 of the oven- rotate pans halfway through if using multiple pans on different shelves.
- Don’t stir the vegetables too often. Turn them halfway through and leave them alone to brown.
- For a finishing touch, you can add a final sprinkling of sea salt, fresh herbs, vinegar or grated parmesan cheese when you remove the vegetables from the oven.
|Oven-roasted vegetables on a bed of quinoa|
- 1 large red onion, peeled
- 2 bell peppers (yellow, red or orange)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 4 carrots, peeled
- 12 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the onion and peppers into 1-inch pieces. Slice the zucchini and carrots on a diagonal into pieces that are roughly the same size. Divide the vegetables and garlic cloves between two baking trays lined with parchment paper. Spread them out in a single layer- don’t overcrowd the pans.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Roast in the upper ⅓ of the oven until browned and tender, 35-40 minutes, stirring them halfway through. If using two shelves in the oven, rotate the pans halfway through cooking time to ensure even browning.