Roasted vegetables are hands down one of the best things to cook. They rival the best pastas and steaks, no question, because of the sweet-and-savory caramelization that works its magic in the oven. Plus, they're easy to make and good for you. There's no reason we shouldn't be eating a lot more of them than we do, particularly in the colder months when a warm oven is welcome, and root vegetables are plenty.
The only thing getting in the way of the roasted vegetable revolution is that not everyone knows how great they are. And that, we suspect, is because not everyone knows how to roast their veggies. It's a simple enough thing to do, but there are dos and don'ts. Here's what you need to know:
1. Place foil on a rimmed cookie sheet. You want a rim because you don't want the veggies' juices running over the edge of the pan, and you want foil because it makes for easier cleanup.
2. Roast like vegetables together and keep them the same size. Vegetables cook at different speeds. By roasting like vegetables together -- roots with roots, etc. -- you'll be able to ensure that they all cook evenly. And cut them in similar sizes, for the same reason we just said.
3. Oil your veggies. Don't drown them in oil, but make sure each piece is very lightly coated -- you'll know if that's what you're doing if there are pools of oil in the pan. One to two tablespoons of oil (like olive, coconut or canola) per sheet pan of vegetables will usually do the trick. Keep in mind that some vegetables may require more oil, such as porous ones like eggplant or mushrooms. And add some salt, too.
4. Give them space. Never crowd the pan. Roasted vegetables are so good, we understand that you might want to fit as many of them as you possibly can into the oven. Resist the urge. Giving them space means making them tastier because they'll be able to roast instead of steam. (It's quality over quantity, friends.)
5. Don't take them out too early. Roasting vegetables takes times, sometimes upwards of 45 minutes. Don't rush them. They might be soft enough to eat, but you want to get a golden-brown, caramelized color for the best flavor.
6. Turn up the heat. We're talking 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit. That's how you get those perfectly cooked veggies that are soft on the inside and golden on the outside.
7. Add flavor. You really don't need anything other than oil and salt for delicious roasted veggies, but throwing a few sprigs of fresh herbs or cloves of garlic to the pan as they roast only boosts flavor.
Easy, right? Now give it a try with the recipes and you'll soon be converted.
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