Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Roasted Vegetable

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Nothing says cold weather like a plate full of roasted vegetables.  For the past few weeks I haven’t been able to stop cooking and eating roasted brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, turnips, onions, parsnips, fennel, squash and potatoes.  So easy, so tasty, so nutritious and so warming, roasted vegetables truly are cold weather’s answer to warm weather grilling, only better.  And sweeter.  Here are some of my favorite foolproof roasting tips that will sustain you through the crispest of fall days and frostiest of winter months:

  • Except for butternut squash and onions, I never peel the vegetables prior to cooking.  The skin softens so much you won’t think “skin” when you chew it.  Plus, it adds flavor and fiber – just make sure to wash/scrub the vegetables well beforehand.  * Peel beets after roasting – this will keep color and nutrients in tact while cooking
  • Cut the vegetables into pieces roughly the same size to ensure even cooking time. The smaller the pieces, the quicker the vegetables will roast; the larger, the longer.
  • Toss your vegetables in a little oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; you can also add fresh herbs, like rosemary, thyme, or marjoram.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  
  • Don’t overcrowd the vegetables as you want them to brown, not steam.  Overcrowded vegetables in the pan will not allow accumulated moisture room to evaporate.
  • Don’t be afraid of high heat: Roasting temperatures can vary anywhere from 400 to 500 degrees. While 200 degrees is perfect for slow roasted tomato sauce, high temperatures like 425 and 450 degrees are more typical for roasting root vegetables.
  • Don’t hold back on roasting time.  Roast your vegetables until you think they can roast no more.  The further they go the more they caramelize.  Though times vary, about 45 minutes is standard.
  • Toss, stir, and move around your vegetables as they cook.
  • If you have 2 trays going at once, make sure to alternate the pans from top to bottom halfway through cooking.

*Fun fact: roasting carrots, squash, and other orange vegetables high in beta-carotene breaks down the plant tissue, releasing the nutrient, making it easier for your body to absorb.

DK

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