Most vegetables are better when they are roasted. Unless they are roasted badly. When I hear “roasted vegetables” I’m hoping for something with a little texture, some golden bits, and plenty of seasoning. Have you ever started with this in mind and then ended up with a pan of pale, bland, lack-luster veggies? You’re not alone. This happens a lot. I’m here to turn your veggie roasting game around. Here are my five tried-and-true tips for better roast vegetables.
You have likely marinated meat, but have you ever thought about marinating vegetables? Trust me, it’s a game-changer. This works particularly well for hard vegetables that have nooks and crannies (think cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.) Letting the veggies rest overnight in a spice-heavy rub is transformational.
- Cut your veggies roughly all the same size and load into a large Ziploc bag.
- Add a few spices, some zest, a bit of fresh aromatics, and oil. Here are a few of my favorite combos: Coconut oil, turmeric, black pepper & grated fresh ginger, Red chili flakes, lemon zest, oregano, grated fresh garlic, olive oil Zataar, lemon zest, grated fresh garlic, olive oil
- Seal the bag and toss until the veggies are evenly coated.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Roast according to the guidelines below.
- NOTE: Don’t include salt in you marinade. This will draw out moisture and wet veggies don’t turn golden brown. Instead, add a sprinkle of salt right before they go into the oven.
- ANOTHER NOTE: If you’re not going to marinate, that’s cool, but be sure to toss your vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the oil or the seasoning. Both are required for delicious food.
Think about shape and size.
If you want vegetables to cook in about the same time, you have to cut them about the same size. I don’t make the rules. It’s a science thing. Something else to consider when roasting is creating the largest surface area possible. Wherever the vegetable comes in contact with the pan is where it will get the most golden-brown. For instance, you’re better off cutting your Brussels sprouts in half and placing them flat-side-down on your roasting pan instead of roasting them whole. Creating a flat side means more opportunity for browning. And brown food tastes better.
Roasting is a high-heat activity.
Let ‘em rest.
Ok. You’ve cut your carrots and potatoes into similar sizes, you’ve tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper. You’ve roasted at 450-degrees and now they are fork tender and golden here and there. You just took them out of the oven and you’re hungry. You want to get them off the pan and into your mouth. WAIT!! If you can just wait 3-5 minutes, they will cool a tiny bit and naturally start to release from the pan. Otherwise you risk loosing all of that golden-brown-deliciousness sticking to the pan. Trust me. Take a minute. Check your Instagram. Pour another glass of wine. Then remove your veggies with a spatula.
Whether you started with a marinade or just some olive oil, salt and pepper, the best thing you can do to amp up your vegetables is to season them again just before serving. Add a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt, a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of chili oil, a handful of torn fresh herbs……anything to add a fresh dose of flavor before digging in.