Oh, roasted veggies. How I love thee. I’d count the ways, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
I straight up love veggies. Most of them. But I especially love them roasted. I believe that roasting veggies is the most flavorful way to eat them. And, equally as important, it’s dang easy! Seriously. Soooo simple. It’s also very versatile. You can roast almost any veggie you happen to have on hand. And you can serve them as part of a very simple weeknight dinner or dress them up for a celebration meal! Giant pans of roasted veggies have made their way on to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even kid’s birthday tables. And it’s always a crowd pleaser!
It goes like this:
- Chop them, maybe.
- Coat them in whatever fat you prefer/have on hand.
- Season liberally.
- Roast, usually on higher heat.
Chop them, maybe.
Green beans? Nah. Baby carrots? Nah. Pearl onions? Nah. Everything else? Yeah. “But how small do I have to chop these things? Don’t they have to be uniform sizes for even cooking?” you ask me, a worried look in your eyes. Are you cooking dinner for Gordon Ramsey? Yes? Oh, yes, please pay attention to your knife skills. I don’t want him cursing at you. No? Then relax. Keep them in the same ballpark, but don’t you dare stress over it. Those slightly smaller pieces that cook more and get darker actually end up being the tastiest bites! I recommend snagging them off the tray as soon as you pull it out of the oven. The chef always gets first choice!
Extra credit: Frozen veggies! No, I don’t mean thawed frozen veggies. I mean take a bag out of your freezer, rip it open, and dump it onto a pan. I pinky swear that it will still turn out super tasty! In fact, at this point in my life, I’ve probably roasted frozen veggies just as much as fresh. Your family or guests will be shocked if you reveal your secret! My only word of warning is this… Do not put frozen veggies in a bowl with the intention to ‘toss’ or ‘stir’ the seasoning. It will stick together in a big unmanageable clump. Just put them directly on the pan. Drizzle and shake all the yumminess on top. Perfecto!
Coat them in whatever fat you prefer/have on hand.
This last weekend I used bacon grease. Because. I’ve used coconut oil many times (so yummy with sweet potatoes!). I’ve used many different oils, and I’ve used butter. I can’t say I have a favorite. I’ve never had anything come out tasting burnt or otherwise bad. Is your coconut oil solid? Put a few spoonfuls on the pan and stick it in the oven for a few minutes while it preheats. Et voila! Liquidy goodness. Same with butter or bacon grease or schmaltz or any solid fat you want to make liquid.
I would like to suggest that you perhaps add a touch more than you think you need. It really helps the texture of the finished product.
Would you believe me if I told you that I have a big mason jar by my stove that is full to the brim of my own custom spice mix? You should. I do. I looove seasonings. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t like spicy food. I’m a wuss. But I’m not talking about spice. I’m talking about flavor. Big difference. I believe under-seasoning is one of the two most common mistakes made by people who say they ‘can’t cook.’ Do you live in Kansas City? Go to Penzey’s. It’s ok if it’s not in your budget (though you might be surprised). Just go. I find that a trip meandering around the store can be sooo inspirational. Trust me, I have plenty of store brand spice bottles in my drawers. It’s all about how you use them. Challenge yourself. Add a little more than you did last time. Keep experimenting and find your sweet spot. Then experiment some more! I suggest always having salt, fresh ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika on hand (at a minimum).
Roast, usually on higher heat.
I roasted frozen broccoli for dinner tonight. Cooked at 450 for 35 minutes. And it was perfection. Plenty of dark crispy bits that the uninitiated might call ‘burnt.’ Trust me, veggies loooove high heat. They do so well when you give the natural sugars a chance to caramelize. In fact, many people like to add a touch of nutmeg to roasting veggies to help bring out that natural sweetness. I usually stay between 400 and 450. And there is no perfect time. You just check on them and take them out when they’ve reached perfection. The more often you do it, the better you’ll learn your oven. ***Green beans seem to be the most delicate, asparagus would be second. Watch those more closely.
Ahhhh my favorite part. I could seriously sit down with nothing more than a bowl of roasted veggies and be happy as a clam. Stick an over easy egg or two on top and you’ve got a nourishing (for mind/body/soul) breakfast! They reheat just fine in the microwave, so they’re great for meal prepping. Want to make them a touch fancy? Chop up some fresh herbs to sprinkle on top after you take them out of the oven. Rosemary, parsley, and thyme are my favs. Maybe a very light drizzle of a good balsamic vinegar on top, especially on more bitter veggies. Throw some whole garlic cloves in the pan and they’ll come out creamy and delicious and just right for schmearing on crusty bread.
I could wax poetic about roasted veggies all the live long day. I really could. And I hope that I’ve inspired or encouraged you to try something new!
Frozen! Right out of the bag!
Raw beauty transformed to tasty crispy deliciousness!
Don’t you feel healthier just looking at it?!?!
All dressed up…
And ready for the party!