What Vegetables to Roast
Root vegetables — like potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots — are old standbys when it comes to roasting, of course, but take a look through your crisper drawer and you'll find all sorts of roasting candidates — from crucifers like broccoli and brussels sprouts to surprises like zucchini, onions, bell peppers, and cabbage. Even tomatoes can be roasted.
If you're not sure if a particular vegetable can be roasted, my recommendation is to just give it a try. It might not end up being your favorite way to eat that vegetable, but it's definitely worth the experiment to find out.
Don't Skimp on the Oil
Once you've cut your vegetables down into bite-sized pieces, toss them with some good-tasting oil. Use enough to give the vegetables with a slick, glossy coating, but not so much that you have puddles in the bottom of your bowl — a tablespoon or two will usually get the job done. Not only does the oil help the vegetables cook more evenly and crisp up in the oven, but it also adds a rich flavor that makes roasted vegetables irresistible.
I usually use a mild olive oil when roasting vegetables, but you could also use coconut oil, avocado oil, or any other oil you like to use. Also, I usually toss the vegetables with my hands so I can rub the oil into the vegetables and make sure they're evenly coated.
Last but not least, toss your vegetables with some salt. You can add black pepper or any other seasonings, as well. Again, be generous, but not excessive — add enough salt and other seasonings so that each piece of vegetable gets a little.
Give the Vegetables Space (More than You Think!)
Spread the vegetables out onto a baking sheet. You want to see a bit of space around the veggies — don't be afraid to split them between two baking sheets if you need to. Crowding will make the vegetables steam instead of roast, and that's the opposite of what we're going for.
Also, make sure your oven is good and hot before you put the vegetables in to roast. I think around 400°F is ideal for roasting most vegetables, although you can adjust up or down as you prefer.
Roast Until You See Toast
Roast until the vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork and you see some charred bits on the edges. Softer vegetables cook more quickly, while harder vegetables like potatoes will cook more slowly. Smaller pieces will also cook more quickly than larger pieces. If you're roasting a new-to-you vegetable, start checking after about 15 minutes, and keep roasting until you see charred bits.
Those charred bits are what make roasted vegetables so good, so even if the vegetables are already tender and cooked through, keep roasting until you see the vegetables start to turn toasty around the tips and edges. If in doubt, roast an extra five or 10 minutes — it's unlikely the extra roasting will hurt, and very likely that your vegetable will be even tastier.
3 Ways to Roast Mixed Vegetables
If you'd like to make a mixed-vegetable side dish, you have three options.
- Roast vegetables individually: First, and easiest, you can roast the individual vegetables on separate trays and combine them after roasting. This lets you monitor how quickly each vegetable is cooking and pull each vegetable from the oven as it's done.
- Pair "vegetable friends": Second, you can pair together "vegetable friends" — ones that roast at roughly the same rate. For instance, you could roast cauliflower and broccoli together, or butternut squash with potatoes. Combine these on the same baking sheet and roast them together. If the baking sheet is getting crowded, split them between two sheets.
- Roast in stages: Third, you can add different vegetables to the baking sheet in stages — start roasting the hardest, longest-cooking vegetables first, and then add softer, quicker-cooking vegetables later on. If the baking sheet starts to get full, split the vegetables between two pans so you don't crowd the them. Aim to have all the vegetables finish roasting around the same time, and remember: A little extra roasting time is unlikely to hurt.