Roasted brussels sprouts and grapes in a white serving bowl
6 Tips for Perfectly Roasted Vegetables

Outsource the hard work to your oven – roasted veggies are the ultimate easy to do, comfort food side. Toss your favorite vedge with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil, and just like that you’ve got a craveable, healthy addition to dinner.

While a cinch to prep, following my tips will ensure the best results. Plus, I share two “non-recipe” recipes for insanely tasty potatoes and sweet and savory delicata squash. Read on!

1. Cut vegetables to the same size

There is wiggle room in roast time… You may prefer your veggies a bit al dente, or perhaps you like them meltingly soft. Whatever your preference, what you decidedly do not want is to serve is a large, underdone chunk, next to a small, shriveled up morsel. To make sure that bites are uniform in texture and doneness, cut individual vegetables to a uniform size when prepping.

2. Veggies require different roast times

When roasting two different vegetables on the same sheet pan, know that roast time varies not only by the density of the particular veggie, but by the cut size. For instance, celery root takes much longer to soften than butternut squash. Therefore, if you wish to roast them together you should cut the celery root to be half the size of the squash. Alternately, you may choose to cut them to the same size, but add the squash halfway through the roast. Or, if you’re still concerned about hitting the mark, for a sure-fire result, simply roast the two vegetables separately on opposite sides of the pan and remove the first one done to your serving bowl while the other finishes on the pan.

3. Give veggies enough space

Crowded vegetables will not only take forever to roast, they will release steam, resulting in a mushy texture. Given appropriate space, the dry heat will allow veggies to roast up with a golden crispness. When in doubt, spread veggies over two sheets. Get this right, and your well on your way to a restaurant-worthy side.

4. But first, season your vegetables

Toss them with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil, and plenty of flaky kosher salt and black pepper before they go in the oven. You can also toss them with other dry seasonings, such as cumin, paprika, dried oregano, cinnamon, etc. A tip to save from washing extra dishes- Toss the vegetables directly on the sheet pan, iron skillet or baker, as opposed to first mixing in a bowl.

5. Add fresh seasonings at the end

The long, intense heat of the oven can cause certain seasonings, such as chopped garlic or fresh herbs, to get overcooked – or worse, burnt – during roasting. Instead, consider combining your fresh seasonings in a pinch bowl, and toss with your vegetables during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Garlic, herbs, citrus juices, honey or maple syrup, a splash of vinegar, or grated parmigiano are all great ideas to zest up your veggies.

6. Roasting timing and temperature

I wish I could tell you exactly how long and at what temperature to roast, though cooking is as much an art, as it is science. Variables such as humidity and altitude play a role, as well as the size, shape and material of the roasting vessel, the size of the cut, and the density and water content of the vegetable you are roasting. Don’t worry though, as long as you check in on them every once in a while, they are hard to mess up. Typically, I roast at 375 F, though as low as 325 F at times, and as high as 450 F (e.g. for green beans or broccoli, I prefer a shorter roasting time and high heat to give them a little char). Check your veggies about every 15 minutes, give them a stir, and adjust the heat if they are browning too quickly, or not quickly enough. Use your judgment, you’ve got this!

Bonus Recipes:

Smoky Roasted Fingerlings

One of our family’s most favorite and most simple roasted veggie side is fingerling potatoes with smoked paprika, lots of garlic and a splash of sherry vinegar.

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces and toss with extra virgin olive oil to coat, and about a teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 ½ pounds. Roast at 375 F, stirring or shaking the pan a few times, until softened and browned. Combine 4 finely chopped or grated garlic cloves, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and two teaspoons of sherry vinegar together, then stir into the potatoes. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

Optional herb additions are chopped rosemary or sage. Make sure to taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed, and fresh black pepper.

Sweet & Savory Delicata Squash

Because of it’s small size and softer flesh, delicata squash is a great weeknight option as it cooks up quickly. Bonus, it’s skin is completely edible, and does not need to be peeled.

Cut two medium-to-large squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, then cut across into half moons. Place on a baking sheet and toss with extra virgin olive oil to coat and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. Roast at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, shaking or stirring once or twice.

While roasting, combine a squeeze of orange juice (about 2 tablespoons), a tablespoon of pure maple syrup, a ¼ teaspoon cumin, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, and a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary. Pour this over the squash during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the oven and serve as is, or let cool and toss into a salad.

Optional, but very tasty, garnishes are pomegranate seeds, toasted pistachios, and feta.

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