When you come across a new vegetable and you are not quite sure what to do with it, try roasting it. Roasted vegetables taste like nothing else. They get brown and crisp on the outside. Their natural sugars caramelize, making them sweet and concentrating their veggie flavor. Whether you are going to eat them straight from the oven or use them in a veggie burger, you won’t want to miss the intense flavor that is only brought out by roasting. Roasting is also one of the easiest, hands-off ways to cook. Turn on the oven, cut up the veggies, toss them in some oil and seasoning, slide the tray in the oven and walk away. Roasting is a great way to cook a lot at one time while leaving the stovetop free for other dishes. One pan makes for easy clean-up too. Here is a handy guide to roasting vegetables along with well over a dozen recipe ideas at the end. Print it out and hang it on your fridge. Then sharpen your knives, turn on the oven and get ready to roast.
1. Basic Roasting Tips
Before we get to the individual vegetables, there are some basic guidelines that apply to roasting vegetables in general.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. It’s hot enough to roast the veggies but not so hot that they won’t cook through.
- Cut the vegetables into even pieces so they all cook evenly. If you have different size pieces, some will end up overcooked while others will be undercooked.
- Some veggies can be roasted whole. The larger the vegetable and the harder it is, the longer it will need to roast.
- To prevent the veggies from sticking to the pan, line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Even if your pan is non-stick, it’s a good idea to line it.
- Toss the veggies in a bit of oil. Don’t use a lot. You just want the veggies lightly coated, not wet. Wet veggies won’t get crispy.
- Place the veggies in an even layer on the baking sheet with some space between the pieces. If they are piled up, the veggies will be unevenly cooked and mushy.
- If your veggies have different cooking times, roast them separately on individual baking sheets or if you only have one baking sheet, put each type of vegetable in its own section. That way it will be easier to remove the ones that are done. You can always mix the veggies together after everything is cooked.
- Ovens tend to be hotter in the back so halfway through the roasting time, turn the pan around so the front and the back of the pan cook evenly. If you are using two pans on different levels of the oven, swap their positions halfway through.
- You will know the veggies are done when they are fork-tender and as crisp and brown as you desire.
2. Individual Vegetable Roasting Guide
Asparagus: Trim the bottom 1/2 inch from the spears. Roast for 10-15 minutes.
Beets: You can peel beets before or after you roast them; I prefer to do it afterwards. You can also roast them whole or sliced. If you roast them sliced, peel them first. Place the sliced beets in a foil-lined baking dish (beets stain) and drizzle with oil. For whole beets, I wrap each beet individually in foil after drizzling with oil. Roast 20-30 minutes for slices and up to an hour for whole beets.
Bell Peppers: Remove the core and seeds. Cut the peppers into ½ inch wide pieces. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
Broccoli: Cut the broccoli into equal-sized florets. Trim and cut the stalks into equal-sized pieces. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the florets are browned and crisp and the stalks are tender.
Brussels sprouts: Pull off any browned leaves. Halve the sprouts and drizzle with oil Roast for 20-25 minutes until browned and tender.
Butternut Squash: Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut the squash into 2-inch pieces and roast for 35-40 minutes.
Carrots: Peel carrots and cut them into 3-inch sticks or cubes. Carrots can also be roasted whole. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
Cauliflower: Remove the core and cut the cauliflower into equal sized florets. Roast for 30 minutes until crisp and tender.
Celery Root: Peel and cut into chunks. Toss with oil and roast 25-30 minutes.
Eggplant: Eggplant can be roasted in slices or halves. Roast halves cut-side down on a lined baking sheet for 30-40 minutes. Roast slices on a lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, flipping half-way through.
Fennel: Trim off the fronds and cut the bulb into wedges. Roast for 35-40 minutes.
Green Beans: Trim the ends of the green beans and roast them whole for 15 to 20 minutes
Jerusalem Artichokes: These do not need to be peeled. Cut into large chunks. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
Mushrooms: Clean and stem the mushrooms. If small or medium-sized, leave the caps whole. If large, cut in half. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
Onions: Peel and cut the onion into wedges or slices. Roast for 30 minutes
Parsnips: Peel and cut into chunks. Toss with oil and roast 20-25 minutes.
Potatoes: Potatoes can be peeled or not. Cut them into your desired shape: wedges, slices or fries. Roast for 20-30 minutes until crisp on the outside and tender inside.
Pumpkin: Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and strings with a spoon. Place the pumpkin halves in a baking dish, cut-side down. Add ½ cup water to the baking dish. Roast for up to 1 hour or until the pumpkin in fork-tender.
Radishes: Trim the leaves and cut the bulbs in half. Roast 15-20 minutes.
Rutabagas: Peel and cut into large chunks. Roast for 30-35 minutes.
Sweet Potatoes: Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Cut into fry shapes or cubes. Roast for 30-35 minutes until fork tender.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes can be roasted whole or in halves. Roast for 30-35 minutes.
Turnips: Peel and cut into wedges or fries. Roast 35-45 minutes.
Winter Squash: Cut into 1-inch slices. Roast for 30-35 minutes.
Zucchini and Summer Squash: You don’t have to peel these. Cut into ½ inch thick slices, cubes or spears. Roast 15-20 minutes.
3. Recipe Ideas
My favorite way to season most roasted vegetables is to use olive, oil, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and ground thyme. Sometimes I like a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Use your favorite herbs and spices to get the flavor profile you want, but remember to let the natural tastes of the vegetables shine through.
by Rhea Parsons