Colder Weather is Perfect for Roasted Vegetables

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables especially during cold fall and winter months. The warmth of the oven heats up the kitchen and it's a perfect cooking technique for many of the vegetables that are available in abundance right now - butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, turnips, rutabega, beets... just to name a few! The picture above is roasted sweet potatoes cut to represent "fries".

Roasting creates rich and intense flavor to almost any vegetable. It concentrates the flavors of the vegetable and adds sweetness through caramelization.

Want to get your roast on? These are my 10 tips for delicious success:

  1. Cut vegetables into even sizes to ensure that they cook at the same rate.
  2. Toss vegetables with just enough oil to coat them – you don't want them to be swimming in oil. The oil will help the vegetables to brown evenly and protect them from drying out. If the vegetable doesn't have enough oil it will come out dry with spotty browning.
  3. For super simple seasoning, just use salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook vegetables on a baking sheet that is heavy and sturdy. Avoid baking sheets that are flimsy because they will warp in the oven.
  5. For easy clean-up, cook the vegetables on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Avoid overcrowding vegetables on the pan. Place them in a single layer. This will allow the steam to escape and the air to circulate.
  7. The cooking time will vary based on the type of vegetable, the size, your preference for doneness and your ovens actual temperature.
  8. Turn the vegetables if they are larger or harder and move them from the outside of the pan to the center. This will ensure even browning.
  9. To check for doneness, insert a knife or a fork into the vegetable. It should slide in and out with little resistance.
  10. Serve roasted vegetables as a side dish or added them to stews, risotto, sauces or as a salad topping.