The crisp air, the colorful leaves — there are many things I love about autumn. But the first thing I think of when the weather turns chilly is the rich smell of potatoes, carrots, and onions roasting away in my oven. There’s something about roasting that brings out the sweetness in everything, which is why it’s always been my favorite way of cooking vegetables.
Thankfully, roasting is as easy as it is delicious! Just keep reading, and I’ll teach you my secrets to roasting success.
Let’s Get Roasting
Once you know how to roast one vegetable, the rest are pretty easy. A simple olive oil roast with salt and pepper is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try new seasonings. I am also a firm believer that you can never use too much garlic! I’ll share some of my favorite seasoning tips and tricks at the end of this post.
Here are some basic roasting directions that will work for just about any fruit or vegetable:
- Preheat your oven to 425°F
- Chop your veggies into roughly even-sized pieces. You can also roast them whole, but remember: bigger pieces take longer and are less likely to cook evenly!
- Toss your veggies with oil or melted butter until they’re lightly coated. A tablespoon or two should do the trick.
- Spread your veggies in a roasting pan. They should be in a single layer, not touching each other. You can also use an oven-safe skillet or an aluminum foil boat.
- Sprinkle on your salt and pepper or whatever other seasoning you’re using. You can also drizzle on honey or a balsamic glaze for extra flavor.
- Pop it in the oven. Cooking times will vary. Soft veggies and small pieces cook the fastest. Check out the table below for some suggested cook times.
- Check for doneness. Your veggies should be golden brown and have a rich, sweet scent. Popping or crinkling sounds can also be a sign of doneness. A good test is to stick your veggies with the tip of a paring knife — if it pulls out easily, your veggies are ready!
No oven? No problem! These directions also work for roasting in a toaster oven.
Timing Is Everything
From the type of food to the size of your oven, lots of things can affect roasting time. The first time you roast anything new, it’s a good idea to check on it often. But it doesn’t have to be a stab-in-the-dark guess! This table should take some of the guesswork out of roasting times:
|Summer Squash||½-inch thick slices||10-15 min|
|Broccoli||1- to 2-inch pieces||10-15 min|
|Cherry Tomatoes, Grapes||Whole||15-20 min|
|Apples, Oranges||½- to 1-inch thick slices||15-20 min|
|Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms||Halved||15-20 min|
|Green Beans, Wax Beans||Whole||15-20 min|
|Carrots, Parsnips||½-inch thick slices||15-20 min|
|Cauliflower||1- to 2-inch pieces||20-30 min|
|Eggplant||½-inch thick slices||20-30 min|
|Sweet Potatoes||1-inch cubes or wedges||20-30 min|
|Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Celeriac, Rutabagas||1-inch cubes or wedges||30-40 min|
|Acorn Squash||Halved||50-60 min|
Much Ado About Seasoning
When it comes to seasoning roasted veggies, simple is best. You want to bring out the flavor of your veggies, not mask it. Salt and pepper are classics for a reason — they work on just about anything — but don’t be afraid to expand your horizons with some of these other seasoning ideas:
- A sprinkle of Old Bay will add some quick, easy flavor to savory potatoes and celeriac.
- Fresh-ground ginger is delicious with carrots and parsnips.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar (with a dash of salt and pepper) can make a sweet treat out of fall favorites like squash, sweet potatoes and apples.
- Nuts are another great add-in for sweeter roasts.
- Garlic and herbs (like rosemary and thyme) are a winning combination on mushrooms, green beans and Brussels sprouts.
- Try adding cheese after you’re finished roasting. Parmesan tastes great on asparagus and eggplant, and salty feta brings out the sweetness of grapes and pears.
If you’re looking to roast something a little more elaborate, these recipes are worth checking out:
- Roasted Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts
- Spicy Roasted Bok Choy
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Apple, Onion, and Thyme
- Roasted Tomatoes with Basil and Thyme
- Roasted Baby Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese
Now that you know the basics, though, you’ll be making your own creative roast recipes in no time! All you need is a little practice and a sense of adventure.
Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anne-cathrine_nyberg/5559438918