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Warm Up Your Plate with Roasted Vegetables

posted Jan 7, 2016, 1:52 PM by   [ updated Jan 7, 2016, 1:59 PM ]
This month, we’re all about warming up your plate with some hearty, comforting foods that won’t weigh you down. One of the best cooking methods for this time of year is roasting. Roasting transforms our food in taste, texture, and color. Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll review some of our favorite roasting techniques, tips, and tricks. 

First up are vegetables. Roasted vegetables may just take your veggie-hating family members across the line to veggie-loving (or at least veggie-tolerating!) Roasting vegetables is basic, but can produce the best dishes by following these tips:

Cut all vegetables into uniform size: this is a big one! If vegetables are not the same size, then they will cook at different rates-some will end up under-cooked and some will end up burned.

  • Use a high smoke-point oil: such as canola, grape seed, peanut, sunflower, safflower, corn, or soybean oil. Choose canola, grape seed, or sunflower oil for a dose of unsaturated fatty acids. Olive oils have varying smoke points due to the way that they are processed. Most extra virgin olive oils have a smoke point below 400 degrees F, but some refined olive oils can be suitable for roasting at >400 degrees F. For more information on oils, check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic
  • Don’t be afraid of herbs & spices: salt and pepper are mainstays, but fresh or dried herbs and spices can impart a new world of flavors. Thyme is delicious with eggplant or mushrooms, curry powder is great on cauliflower, and Italian seasoning blends compliment summer squash or zucchini. If you like a little kick; add cayenne and chili powder to your roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes. Other favorite herbs for vegetables include basil, sage, rosemary, Herbs de provence, turmeric, and coriander. 
  • Preheat the oven: roasting vegetables in a well-heated oven is the key to getting a crisp outside and soft inside. Since most of the oils recommended above have smoke points of 400 – 425 degrees F, it’s best to roast in that temperature range. 
  • Check vegetables frequently: just turn the light on in the oven to peek in on them. Vegetables can turn from raw to burned in just a matter of minutes, so set the timer for 5-10 minute increments to remind yourself to check. Most vegetables will roast in ~20 minutes. 
  • Branch out: we all know that roasted carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts are delicious, but have you ever tried roasting broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, or even chickpeas? Using our tips above, you can roast anything, so don’t be afraid to try something new. 
  • Make extra: roasted vegetables are great hot, but can be just as good cold or reheated (just crisp them back up under the broiler or in a hot oven for a few minutes) or can be added to a variety of other dishes like omelets, casseroles, salads, quesadillas, quiches, pasta dishes or even on a sandwich. 

Click here for our Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs recipe.  Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.