“Secret Weapon” Roasted Vegetables

I’m a vegetarian so people always assume I eat a lot of salads.  I actually don’t always feel like eating my vegetables raw.  I enjoy them more cooked, either in soup, casserole, or as part of a dish.  I also LOVE roasted veggies.  Most veggies roast well.  Also, anything that roasts well generally will grill very well too, which is handy to remember in the summer when vegetarians tend to feel very left out around the BBQ.

I first started out with roasting vegetables as a young single girl living in my little bachelorette apartment in Westwood.  I went on a date to Drago and ate something amazing that I tried to duplicate at home.  I had a  bunch of failures because (1) I used too much oil; and (2) I was afraid to turn the heat up high enough.  What I ended up doing was more like steaming (but in too much oil; ick) and I never captured that magical texture or intense, caramelized sweet flavor.

When I finally found a couple of roasted veggie recipes that I liked, I developed more confidence and now I can improvise.  Some basics:  a little (teeny!) bit of olive oil goes a long way.  And don’t be afraid to use a very hot (425-450) oven.

There are two ways to get really even coverage of oil and seasonings.  One method is to put the whole thing in a ziploc, seal it, and shake.  The other is to put everything on your baking sheet and get in there with your (clean) hands.

When you roast, make sure to give the pan a shake and stir once or twice during cooking to make sure everything is done evenly.

Here are a few of my favorite roasting recipes.  I usually modify these based on what produce is on hand.  Roast vegetable recipes are very forgiving when it comes to substitutions (e.g. substitute one type of winter squash for another or one type of root vegetable for another.)  Just make sure that everything is cut into roughly the same size so it cooks evenly.

1.  This recipe is from the October, 2007, issue of Vegetarian Times:

Herbed Winter Vegetable Roast (serves 6)

  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 T chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 delicata or 1 large butternut squash, cut crosswise into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 med carrots, cut on the diagonal into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 2 med parsnips, cut on the diagonal into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1 med onion, cut into 1″ thick wedges

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly oil rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.

Whisk together olive oil, rosemary, basil, thyme, and garlic in large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add delicata or butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, parsnips, and onion; toss to coat.  Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Roast 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.

2.  I was given this recipe in a freebie booklet from Aveda several years ago.  I had never tried parsnips or turnips before making this, and now I always make a point to look for them if I’m roasting veggies because they add great flavor.

Roasted Vegetables

  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • turnips
  • beets
  • potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, rosemary, or thyme (chop finely if using fresh)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Peel and cut all of the vegetables except the potatoes into thin slices.  Cut the potatoes into chunks.

Spread the vegetables in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with oil and season with the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Roast the vegetables, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 30 minutes, or until done.

3.  This recipe is from a Passover cookbook distsributed by the Temple Adat Shalom Sisterhood.  Roast veggies are a great Passover side dish.

Sherry Roasted Root Vegetables (eight servings)

  • 2 c (1/4″ thick) sliced parsnip
  • 2 c baby carrots (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 c thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1 sm bulb)
  • 1/4 c dry sherry
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 7 shallots, peeled (about 1/2 pound)
  • 4 red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ thick wedges (about 1 pound)
  • 2 turnips, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (about 1 pound)

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to coat.  Place vegetable mixture in roasting pan.  Bake at 425 for 1 hr and 15 minutes, turning vegetables occasionally.

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