Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Roasted veggies save the day for me time and time again! They are delicious and easy to make. There are many reasons why I prepare them regularly.
  • They satisfy my craving when I want something decadent-tasting, but nutritious at the same time.
  • When I cook for others or myself, they're a great side to serve. They compliment so many different dishes.
  • Roasted veggies are reliably great when I need to bring something special, yet low-fuss to a gathering.
  • When I have produce that's on its last legs, roasting saves me from wasting money in thrown-away food, and it gives new life to not-so-fresh veggies.
  • They are a great thing to cook when I need to make dinner, but also have chores to tend to around the house. Once they're prepped, they virtually cook themselves.
  • Roasted veggies are one of my favorite things to make in large quantities, and then have in the fridge to eat as leftovers throughout the week.

My method for making roasted veggies is very simple. Basically what I do is look in the fridge and see what veggies I have that need to be used. After I wash my veggies, I slice them into pieces. Sometimes I like to slice them long and thin, and other times I prefer hearty pieces. Meanwhile, I preheat my oven to a pretty hot temperature, usually 450 degrees. As I'm slicing the veggies, I throw them right onto my baking sheet. A casserole dish can also be used, but I find that they tend to be less crispy when cooked in a dish. After all of the veggies are sliced, I give them a good coating of olive oil, some healthy shakes of salt and pepper, and pop them into the hot oven. I check on them every ten minutes or so, tossing them with my spatula, so all the sides can get toasted. I like to cook mine until they are a little blackened, just a little. I find that they taste really flavorful when they are at this point. Take them out when they are tender and browned to your liking.

Something to be aware of when you are preparing your roasted veggies is the different cooking times of various vegetables. There are a few solutions. Personally, my preference is to cook each vegetable separately, adding in trays of the quicker-cooking vegetables later in the game. For me, this is the lowest-hassle way of cooking them. Another idea is to add your quicker-cooking veggies to the same baking dish at various points throughout the cooking time. So for instance, if you were making roasted potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms, you would put your chopped potatoes in the oven, and depending on their size and cooking time, add in the cut broccoli after about 20 minutes or so, and then after about 10 more minutes, add your mushrooms, either whole or in large pieces. One more way to address the cooking time issue is to cut your veggies into different sizes that will allow an assortment to cook at the same time. So, if you were to cook carrots, parsnips, onions, and mushrooms, your carrots and parsnips should be cut small, the onions cut medium-sized, and the green onions left whole.

Roasted veggies are a great addition to pastas, salads, soups, rice pilafs, sandwiches, pizzas, and eggs, or they're a great snack on their own. They quickly turn ordinary food into gourmet dishes. Hooray for roasted vegetables!

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