Cooking technique: Roasting vegetables

This article was originally published in January 2015

A simple trip to the oven can transform raw vegetables into sugary delights with virtually no effort at all. Cooking at high temperatures leads to caramelization — the internal water found in vegetables evaporates and the natural sugars become concentrated, deepening the flavor and leading to a sweet, nutty taste. Here’s how to get delicious, perfectly roasted vegetables every time.

  1. Dry your veggies after rinsing them — they’ll brown better and not stick as much to the pan.
  2. Cut vegetables into uniform-size pieces so they’ll cook at the same rate.
  3. Toss vegetables in a light coating of oil (again, you don’t need too much oil as they’ll roast better if drier) and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Don’t overcrowd the pan — it will result in steaming instead of caramelizing. If there’s not enough space, opt for two baking sheets.
  5. If you’re mixing and matching vegetables, make sure they are cut to a similar size and they have similar cooking times. Otherwise, start the veggies with the longest cooking time first and then add other veggies accordingly.
  6. Your veggies are done when they’re golden brown and you easily can pierce them with a knife. If there’s resistance, roast them a little longer.

TIP: Heat your baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes before placing the veggies on it. By doing this, you eliminate the need to flip them halfway through cooking — the pan caramelizes the bottom of the vegetables while the heat from the oven caramelizes the top. Just remember to be careful when placing the produce on the scorching hot pan!

Find delicious ways to incorporate roasted veggies into your meals, including Roasted Beets with Sautéed Greens, Roasted Carrot and Pear Soup, and Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa. Get the recipes >>

Cooking times

Heat oven to 450° F. Chop your vegetables into 1-inch pieces — the Brussels sprouts can be quartered or halved.

Beets / Turnips / Rutabagas

4 servings = 1.5 pounds
20 to 25 minutes

Broccoli / Cauliflower

4 servings = 1 pound
15 to 20 minutes

 

Brussels Sprouts

4 servings = 1 pound
15 to 20 minutes

Winter Squash

4 servings = 2 pounds
25 to 35 minutes

 

Carrots / Parsnips

4 servings = 2 pounds
25 to 35 minutes

Red & Yukon Gold Potatoes

4 servings = 1.5 pounds
25 to 35 minutes

 

Sweet Potatoes

4 servings = 1.5 pounds
20 to 25 minutes

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