Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness, maintains their bright colour and adds flavour you just don’t get when you boil or steam them.
Use a large, shallow, preferably dark coloured roasting pan. Spread vegetables in a single layer, as overcrowding will steam rather than roast vegetables. If making a large amount, use two pans and rotate the pans partway through cooking. Stir occasionally.
The oven temperature can vary with whatever you might be cooking at the same time (a roast), from 325°F to 400°F (160°C to 200°C), just adjust cooking time accordingly. Many vegetables can be roasted at the same time, however denser vegetables will take longer than softer vegetables and the size of the pieces will also affect cooking time. Don’t cut vegetables too small or they might burn rather than roast.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Vary the vegetables and amounts to your preferences. I like to give the potatoes a bit of a head start in the oven rather than parboiling them. Makes about 6 to 8 servings.
• 1 – 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) olive oil
• 2 to 3 medium all-purpose or Yukon Gold potatoes
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, halved
• 1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried thyme leaves
• 1/4 tsp (1 ml) crushed dried rosemary leaves
• Pinch each coarse salt and pepper
• 2 to 3 carrots
• 2 to 3 parsnips
• 1 small butternut squash
Preheat oven to 325°F to 375°F (160°C to 190°C). Peel potatoes and cut into wedges or chunks. Toss potatoes with 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place in a large, shallow heavy roasting pan. Roast 10 minutes.
Peel and cut remaining vegetables in 2-inch (5 cm) chunks. Toss carrots, parsnips and squash with remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil and add to pan after potatoes have been cooking 10 minutes. Stir and roast until vegetables are tender and nicely browned, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Other Vegetables: For something a little different, try roasting cauliflower. Cut cauliflower into florets, toss with olive oil and seasonings (as above) and roast until lightly browned and tender. Other winter vegetables that roast well are Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, fennel, beets, celeriac and onions.
Serve roasted vegetables as a side dish, or toss with cooked pasta and serve hot or at room temperature.
– Barb Holland is a professional home economist and food writer who believes in shopping locally and in season.