Roasting vegetables is a technique that is simple in execution and wonderful in results. Recipes generally call for 450 degrees. Most of us cook nearly everything at the lower 350. This is fine for most baked goods and some casseroles but not for vegetables. High heat carmelizes the outer layer of vegetables to give a richer flavor that makes the finished dish taste good. The higher temperature also quickly seals the natural juices of the potatoes, zucchini, and other veggies. Here’s how:
When selecting vegetables keep in mind not all vegetables are equal when it comes to roasting. Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips take about 45 minutes to roast – even at 450 degrees, the recommended temperature. The less fibrous zucchini, sweet peppers, and cauliflowers take only 15 minutes. So if you are roasting two or more vegetables your best bet is to select ones that have the same time requirement. But if you really must roast carrots with cauliflower, start the carrots first and add the cauliflower about 30 minutes into the baking.
So what about seasoning? Most recipes involve coating the vegetables first with a small amount of oil, preferably olive oil for the flavor. Don’t leave out the oil. It serves to keep the vegetables from drying out while roasting in high heat. Then you can add seasoning. For those cooking for picky eaters, salt and pepper will probably do nicely. But adding a few herbs to kick it up a notch is my idea of good cooking. Of course, you knew I’d say that.