Roasted Vegetables: Nutritious, Easy-to-Make, and Delicious

Roasted vegetables are not only quick and easy to prepare, they’re also incredibly healthy.

Everyone knows fresh produce is good for you, but they’re even more beneficial than most people realize. Fruits and vegetables may reduce risks of both cardiovascular disease and cancer. And people who eat the most vegetables are also likely to enjoy a variety of health benefits. Yet only around one in four people eat the amount of produce recommended by leading nutrition advisory boards. So if you want to dramatically improve your diet, incorporating plenty of vegetables into your diet is the perfect way to start.

If want to boost your vegetable intake, roasting is the ideal preparation method. Roasting improves texture, concentrates flavors, and increases digestibility. Roasting is so easy that you can get superb results on your very first try.

There’s something magical about sliding a baking sheet of chopped raw vegetables into the oven, then returning a while later and pulling out a fragrant, sizzling, perfectly-cooked assortment of roasted veggies. They’re especially good during colder months—nothing warms you up better than oven-roasted winter squash, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, and other mainstay winter root vegetables.

Required Kitchen Equipment

Recommended Vegetables

Using the two lists below, choose at least four or five vegetables. Try to get as many colors as possible, since more colors means more visual appeal and a greater variety of nutrients.

Vegetables Requiring About 40 Minutes Roasting Time:

  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Garlic (don’t peel!)

Vegetables Requiring About 20 Minutes Roasting Time:

  • Peppers of various colors
  • Broccoli florets
  • Onions
  • Summer squash
  • Radishes
  • Brussels sprouts (halved)
  • Mushrooms (especially portobellos)
  • Green beans (snip off ends)
  • Tomatoes

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 215° C (425° F). Thoroughly rinse your vegetables, then chop them into pieces a bit larger than bite-sized. They’ll shrink to the perfect size during roasting. If you are including broccoli or cauliflower, use a paring knife to remove the skin from the stems leading to the florets. And never throw away the main stems of broccoli—peeled, chopped coarsely, and roasted they’re absolutely delicious!

Next, put all your chopped vegetables into a mixing bowl and add a little olive oil, Italian herb seasoning, and salt. Mix everything to thoroughly coat the vegetables in oil.

See the lists above to determine which vegetables require 40 minutes baking and which require just 20. If you’re using vegetables that take different amounts of roasting time, you can start the ones that require 40 minutes. Only add a single layer of vegetables to your baking sheet, since if you pile them atop one another they won’t cook evenly or brown properly.

Halfway through roasting, use a metal or silicone spatula to flip your vegetables. Then add the remaining vegetables that require less cooking time. While flipping vegetables halfway through roasting isn’t strictly necessary, doing so will result in more even cooking.

That’s all there is to it—you are now officially an expert at roasting vegetables. My final piece of advice is to not let yourself fall into a rut by roasting the same vegetables every time. Whenever possible, include vegetables hitting their peak of season, and always go for something new. As with salads and stir-fries, try to get as many different colored vegetables as possible into each batch. If you constantly change things up, you could eat roasted vegetables every day without it ever becoming monotonous.

Variations:

  • Are you a garlic lover? If so, and you’re roasting vegetables that take a while to cook, you can also roast garlic simultaneously. Roasted garlic has a remarkably mellow flavor and a wonderfully rich texture. Just throw some unpeeled cloves—or an entire bulb—in the oven along with your vegetables. After roasting, the skins peel off easily. You can eat the cloves whole, or mash them and mix with olive oil as a sensational spread for French baguettes and other breads.
  • Just like roasting mellows the flavor of garlic, it does the same for peppers. Even if you don’t like spicy foods, you may find you adore roasted spicy peppers. Roasting removes most of the heat, but leaves behind a rich and nuanced set of flavors.
  • Another way to jazz things up is to put all your veggies back into the mixing bowl after roasting and add a few squirts of balsamic vinegar along with some freshly-ground black pepper. Give everything a final mix to coat the vegetables and then serve.
  • Italian herb seasoning mixes are a popular choice for seasoning roasting vegetables, but almost any other spice mix will produce excellent results. Experimenting with different seasonings will radically change up the flavors of your roasted vegetables.
  • Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap, but that’s because few people know how to prepare them well. They’re among the most delicious of roasted vegetables. After rinsing, cut each in half, mix with a coating of olive oil and raw coarsely-chopped hazelnuts, then roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning midway through. Add some freshly-ground black pepper before serving.
  • For added protein, roast a few thick slices of tofu that were marinated in tamari.

Once you master roasting vegetables, don’t forget about salads and stir-fries. Getting into the habit of eating these foods on a daily basis is a sure-fire way to reap all the rewards that a vegetable-rich diet has to offer.

For further reading: A Vegan’s Guide to Enjoying Vegetables.

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