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How to Roast Harvest Vegetables
If you have never roasted vegetables, you don't know what you are missing! You may be used to steaming, boiling, grilling, baking, and stir-frying your veggies, but roasting vegetables isn't a preparation method that is used all that often these days. Yet vegetables that have been roasted make a wonderful, rich side dish that is not only easy but naturally low in calories so long as you don't use too much olive oil.
Roasting is simply a process of cooking vegetables in a very hot, dry... heat allowing to vegetables to brown while remaining tender on the inside. Usually, vegetables are peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and perhaps a few herbs. The process does a wonderful job of bringing out the sweetness of the vegetables while leaving you with a pleasing texture of crispness on the outside and tenderness on the inside.
While almost any variety of vegetables can be roasted, this tutorial will take you through roasting some of the fall's best offerings: butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
The first thing you will do is to gather together the ingredients you will need. Gather:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 medium-sized carrots
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
Before beginning to chop the vegetables, be sure to then preheat your oven to 450°F. A nice hot oven right off is critical to the nice browning of the veggies, so don't forget this step and place the vegetables into the oven while you are heating it up.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Some vegetables can be roasted without removing the peel, however, for this recipe, you will definitely want to remove the peel of at least the butternut squash. The sweet potatoes and carrots can be peeled with a simple vegetable peeler. Remove the peelings of garlic cloves.
If you have worked with butternut squash you know that peeling one can be a bit tedious. If you haven't worked with a butternut squash before, follow these few simple tips. First, use a sharp, small knife to cut off... about 1 1/2 inches from both the top and base of the squash. Next, a regular vegetable peeler can be used to peel off the tough, shiny skin, but a serrated peeler may make the job a little easier. Then, slice the butternut squash in half from top to bottom, exposing the inner seeds. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out any seeds and strings found in the middle of the squash. Then you are finally ready to cut the squash as required for your recipe.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Cut the Vegetables Equally
You may think that this step is not all that important in the final outcome of the roasted vegetables, but cutting the vegetables actually is quite important! When roasting vegetables, it is important that all the vegetables in your dish are cut into pieces which are the same size. That way, all of the vegetables will finish cooking at the same time, and you won't end up with bits of undercooked or mushy pieces. The size of the vegetables is up to you. You may even leave smaller vegetables... whole, but I like to chop larger vegetables into equal bite-sized pieces.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Drizzle the Vegetables with Olive Oil
Once you have chopped all of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, gather them together in a large bowl where you can toss them with olive oil and seasonings. I like to use a nice extra-virgin olive oil, and for this recipe I use about 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. While the olive oil is the only ingredient that seems to add a lot of calories to the dish, it cannot be skipped. The olive oil helps the vegetables to brown without drying them out. A relative small amount is used, and remember... there are terrific health benefits to using olive oil. The remaining half tablespoon of olive oil is reserved for a small drizzling once the vegetables come out of the oven. Additionally, add 1/4 tsp of table salt and toss everything together very well.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Place on a Baking Sheet
Next, you will coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Then pour the vegetables out onto the tray, and spread out in a single layer. This step is quite important as well. You don't want the vegetables to be too close together or they will actually end up steaming each other. You want there to be space around each piece for hot air to circulate and to allow the browning process to take place. If you have too many vegetables to be easily spread out on one sheet, you are better... off using two baking sheets and dividing the vegetables among them.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Bake the Vegetables in a Hot Oven
You should have already pre-heated your oven to 450°F. Now place the tray of vegetables into the oven, and allow to roast for about 40 minutes. Be sure to use a large spatula to turn the vegetables after about twenty minutes. You want to continuously expose all sides of the cut vegetables to the hot air, so turning is a must.
You will want to keep an eye on the vegetables during this step, as it can be easy to allow them to become over-done. Depending on the size you cut your vegetables, 40... minutes may be too long or not quite long enough. The vegetables should be fork-tender, yet browned on the outside when done. A piece of tin foil can be placed over the top of the vegetables if they have browned but are not yet quite fork-tender.
Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven, and drizzle them with the remaining half tablespoon of olive oil so added moistness. Toss with the freshly ground black pepper. At this point, roasted vegetables may also benefit from being seasoned with chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano. Serve the vegetables piping hot, and enjoy your delicious, healthy, and easy roasted veggie side dish.
If you enjoyed this dish, you can use the same method with so many other vegetables. Next time try fresh beets, onions, red potatoes, parsnips, turnips, or cauliflower.