Roasted Winter Veggie Dinners
Roasted Broccoli and White Bean Pasta
Rules of Roasting
Roasting is very simple. But these best practices will help ensure that you don’t wind up with a pan of both burnt and undercooked vegetables.
- One size fits all. Cut your vegetables the same size so that pieces cook evenly. Bite-size, about 1 1/2 inches, is good, but smaller or larger is fine.
- Season before cooking. Sprinkle raw vegetables liberally with salt and pepper, then taste and season again after roasting. A squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar really brightens the flavor of caramelized veggies (or, for super-deep flavor, toss with a bit of balsamic vinegar before roasting).
- Preheat the pan. For the best caramelization, place the pan in the oven while it heats, then add oil to the pan before carefully adding oil-coated veggies.
- Side matters. Take the time to arrange veggies cut side down. You’ll expose the most surface area to the hot pan and get great browning and flavor.
- Choose high-heat oils. Use an oil that won’t scorch at high heat. Vegetable and canola are good bets. Olive oil works too, but save the nice extra-virgin stuff for dressing and finishing.
- Be hands-off. There’s no need to stir if you’re fine with one side of the veggies being very caramelized. For less-deep color but more even browning, stir or shake midway through cooking, then spread into one layer again.
The Science of Flavor
Roasting—a dry cooking method—makes vegetables sweeter because it helps to release and caramelize their natural sugars. Starchy winter veggies, such as potatoes and parsnips, are particularly caramelization-friendly because they have a high sugar content. Parents swear by roasting to get their kids to eat cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. That’s because quick, high-heat cooking diminishes the sulfurous compounds in these veggies and brings out a nutty, charred flavor as well as that natural sweetness.
Roasted veggies are also great in scrambled eggs, quiches and frittatas. Pair them with almost any cheese you have on hand for an easy, flavorful meal.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Poached Egg and Parmesan
Roasted Garlic Goodness
If you’ve got the oven cranked up for veggies, roast garlic at the same time. Roasting makes garlic much sweeter than when it’s raw or sautéed. Cut the top off a full head of garlic and place in a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of EVOO and sprinkle with salt. Wrap tightly and toss in the oven alongside veggies. Give it 40 to 50 minutes at 400°. Squeeze cooled garlic out of papery skins, then spread it on bread, mix it with butter, toss it with the veggies or use it in a dressing to drizzle over your dish. Place any leftovers in a small resealable container and cover with olive oil; store in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
RELATED ROASTED GARLIC RECIPES:
Roasted-Vegetable Chicken Soup
If you roast at high heat—400° and above—you’ll get deep, flavorful browning and a mix of textures in about 30 minutes or less. But what if you’ve also got something else cooking in the oven? You can roast at 350° or lower for a
longer amount of time. Assume you’ll need to add about 5 minutes of roasting time for each 25° difference in temperature.
Roasted Potatoes and Parsnips with Steak
Toss vegetables with spice mixes or dried herb blends before roasting. Save fresh herbs for after veggies are out of the oven. You’ll get better color and flavor.
Roasted Celery Root and Apple with Pork
Battle of the Pans
We like to use a cast-iron skillet or a rimmed baking sheet because metal heats up quickly and holds heat evenly, giving you better browning than ceramic or glass. Ideally, your pan will have sides high enough that the cut veggies won’t slide off, but low enough that hot air can circulate around them.