One of great additions to any meal, especially a roasted chicken, turkey or a grilled steak is a medley of roasted vegetables. Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and goes well with simply seasoning them with salt and black pepper. There are few constraints on which vegetables are best for roasting except the personal preference of the cook.
I have had great success in roasting carrots, potatoes, spring onions, shallots, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, parsnips, celery, bell peppers, poblano peppers and jalapenos. The combination of these vegetables is a varied as the dishes and dependent upon the type of meal I desire to serve. Over the years there have been some spectacular disappointments, most notably the vegetables taking twice as long to cook as planned, the potatoes still being raw or having gone beyond roasting and more like burning the vegetables.
Regardless of the vegetables to be roasted, there are a few guidelines I have learned to minimize the risk of disaster.
- I have never met a person who did not like vegetables who did not consume more than planned. Roasted vegetables appear to be consumed in greater quantities. Increase your serving size.
- Leftover roasted vegetables are great for adding to soup stock, diced into a spread for a sandwich / crackers or even eaten cold as a snack.
- Consistency in the thickness of the vegetables is key to minimizing inconsistency in the vegetables being properly cooked. Nothing more disappointing then the potatoes being closer to raw then roasted.
- Length of the vegetable is more of a personal choice. Spring Onions look great whole, whereas long thick carrots do well with a length of two inches.
- Use the appropriate sized baking / roasting dish to cook the vegetables. Vegetables layered on top of one another will not cook evenly.
- Roasted vegetables are amazing, burnt vegetables tend to be not eaten by guests. It is safe to walk away from the roasting vegetables for the first 20 minutes, but it is smart to check them out at the 20 minute mark and the 25 minutes mark in the event that they are done.
Simple Instructions for Perfectly Roasted Vegetables:
- Decide which vegetables you want to have with the meal.
- Slice the vegetables roughly to the same thickness (mushrooms are the one exception and can remain whole). Perfect thickness is no thicker than your finger (half the thickness of the large end of a carrot).
- Lightly toss the prepared vegetables in Olive or Vegetable Oil and season with Salt and Black Pepper to taste or any other herbs and spices you desire.
- Preheat oven / toaster oven (perfect size when serving for two) to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes and 25 minutes to ensure that the vegetables are have not burned. You are seeking a roasted vegetable that is tender, but not mushy, lightly browned and even a little shriveled.