‘Tis the Season for Roasted Vegetables

November 28, 2017 in Foodland, Mediterranean by Joyce Bunderson

We live on the bench of the Wasatch Front of the Rocky Mountains; that’s a blessing when considering views; but when the cold weather comes, my native southern California core still chills at the thought of winter temperatures. Last night the weather made it first dip into the twenties; although it’s still November as I write this, I realize the long cold winter is quickly approaching. Worries of heating up the house too much by baking and roasting have long departed my mind.

I wonder if you have already begun to roast some of the autumn harvest. If not, let me share a few thoughts and hints.

If you’re still boiling or steaming your vegetables and haven’t embarked upon the joys of roasted vegetables, you’re in for a treat. In addition, if you have picky eaters in your family or friends, yummy sweetness of caramelized roasted vegetables will likely tickle their pallet and expand their vegetable intake.

Roasting is not a difficult skill to master; but the payoff for your effort (taste, good nutrition) is enormous. You can do this and the more you do it, the faster and more efficient you tend to become. Don’t be afraid, just jump in and try what you have on hand. You don’t need a recipe for this type of cooking, but if you want to feel more secure in the beginning look up a recipe on-line for roasted “Vegetable X” and it will give you exact herbs, spices, and seasonings and then you will know for sure what has worked for someone.

I’ll share the way I roast vegetables and maybe if you’re not already a seasoned roaster of vegetables, this will be a good starting place.

I have an extra large stainless steel bowl; after cutting all the vegetables to fairly even sized chunks, I toss them in the giant bowl with avocado or canola oil. (my regular extra virgin olive oil will smoke at 425 degrees). Note: Other oil will work just fine; skip the coconut oil, however. I sprinkle in the herbs, spices, and seasonings that I’ve chosen, then use my hands to coat the oil and seasonings all over the veggie chunks. I spread the veggies on cooking sheets with Silpat liners (you can also use parchment or foil - easy clean up). I give them plenty of room for the heat to get to the pieces. If you have a convection option in your oven, this is a good use of it. I roast in a 425 degree F oven; and after about half way through roasting I use a sharp fork to see if any are done. I like touches of blackened edges on some of the vegetables. If the pieces are not cooking evenly, I sometimes remove the cooked pieces and finish off the remaining pieces with a bit more time in my oven set on convection roast. The rest of the process is just serve and eat – you’ve got that skill perfected. Right? I do.

Approximate roasting time depends upon several variables including; your individual oven; the specific type and variety of vegetable; the freshness of the vegetable; and the size and shape of the cut – to name a few. But having said that, I’ll share an approximate time for roasting vegetables.

  • Zucchini, yellow summer squash and other soft squashes, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans: 10 – 20 minutes
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, tomatoes: 15 to 25 minutes
  • Potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, yams, onions, garlic; leeks: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Butternut squash, sweet pumpkin, acorn squash, delicata, banana squash 20 to 60 minutes

Ideas for flavor:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Salt (Kosher or whatever you have)
  • Pepper
  • Lemon pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic

You don’t need to be chilled to enjoy roasted vegetables; but this cool weather definitely makes me think ‘tis the season.