How to Roast Vegetables (with lots of flavor)

Roasted carrots 3 different ways - miso, maple syrup, and olive oil | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang

I find the oven to be one of the most underutilized tools in the kitchen. While it gets warmed up for baking, it doesn’t get much action for general everyday mealtime making. I think this is just too bad, because so much low-maintenance and simple deliciousness can come out of the oven. I use mine just about every single night to roast vegetables, which is the cooking formula I’m excited to share today.

I know that this might be quite elementary for some folks, but for others, this will be a whole new discovery. I’ve definitely had clients ask me, “What should I do with ‘x vegetable’?” I ask them what they normally do, and the answer usually is, “I’d microwave, boil, or steam it.” I then persuade them to preheat their oven and get ready to experience vegetables in a whole new way. For those who are not novices to roasting vegetables, I’ll offer you some new ideas (so keep reading!) – different flavor profiles you might have not thought of before and a vegetable roasting timetable below that will allow you to confidently turn your oven on every night.

If you like visuals, check out this video here on how we roast vegetables with all different flavors:

How to Roast Vegetables with Different Flavors from Cook Smarts on Vimeo.

Reasons to roast


  • Roasting has the effect of caramelizing vegetables, which enhances their natural sweetness and flavors. Plus, it adds a nice crispy texture
  • While roasting vegetables does take a bit longer than other methods of cooking, it’s also mostly passive, out-of-the-way cooking. You can prep and season while your oven is warming up, and then you’re done. While you’re waiting, you can prepare other dishes on the stovetop (or take advantage of that warmed up oven for baking / roasting proteins) or hang out with your family. Just remember to put a timer on (although you’ll certainly smell the goodness)!
  • Vegetable roasting time can be adjusted. Short on time? Just chop your veggies into smaller pieces or start them in the microwave but finish them off in the oven to get that roasted flavor
  • Flavor profiles are endless. While all you need is olive oil, salt, and pepper, you can get fancy with an endless array of possibilities. We offer up a few below
  • And if you’re a lazy dishwasher like me, you can avoid dishwashing by covering your baking sheet / roasting pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper

Flavor profiles (portions are per pound of vegetables)


  • Au naturale: 1 to 2 tbs. oil + Salt + Pepper (great on any vegetable)
  • French: 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard + 1/2 tbs. Sherry Vinegar + 1 tbs. Oil (great on asparagus, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snap peas)
  • Farmers Blend: 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard + 1/2 tbs. Sherry Vinegar + 1/2 tbs. Brown Sugar / Maple Syrup + 1 sprig of Thyme + 1 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots)
  • Japanese: 1/2 tbs. Miso + 1/2 tbs. Rice Vinegar + 1 tbs. Soy Sauce +  1 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on bok choy, broccoli, carrots, eggplants)
  • Chinese: 1 tbs. Soy Sauce + 1 tsp. Rice Vinegar + 1 tsp. Sesame Oil + 1 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on bok choy, broccoli, carrots, eggplant)
  • Jerk: 2 tsp. Jerk / Cajun Blend (or make your own blend) + 1 tbs. Oil (great on carrots and potatoes)
  • Greek: 2 tsp. lemon juice + 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh) + 1.5 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on asparagus, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini)
  • Sweet and Tart: 1/2 tbs. Maple Syrup + 1/2 tbs. balsamic vinegar + 1 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on beets, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, sugar snap peas, sweet potatoes)
  • Sweet and Savory: 1/2 tbs. Dijon Mustard + 1/2 tbs. Honey + 1 tbs. Soy Sauce + 1 tbs. Oil + S&P (great on brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, sugar snap peas, sweet potatoes)
  • Your Own Creation: Open your fridge and pantry and see what creative combination you come up with and share with us!

How to Roast Vegetables

{Serves 4}

Ingredients


  • Desired vegetables – 1 lb.
  • Canola or olive oil – 1 to 2 tbs.
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional: Desired Flavor Profile

Prep


  • Vegetables: Chop into even pieces
  • Seal in airtight container if not making right away for up to 3 days

Tools


Make


  1. Preheat oven to 400 to 425 degrees
  2. Cover baking sheet in aluminum foil or parchment paper (I prefer parchment paper as I find it prevents sticking better)
  3. Prep vegetables if you haven’t done so and place them directly on the baking sheet. If veggies are pre-prepped, keep them in the container for now
  4. Pour over vegetables onto baking sheet, and drizzle on oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss with hands / tongs. Spread them out into one even layer
  5. Roast in oven using timetable below as a guide. Some of the ranges are quite wide because it depends on what size you’re chopping the vegetable to and if you have the time to wait longer. The longer you wait, the more the vegetable will caramelize. If you’re shorter on time, you can take them out towards the shorter end of the time range. They’ll be cooked but not as caramelized. Regardless of how much time you have, give your vegetables a shake midway through as the sides against the baking sheet will brown more and you want to turn the vegetables for more even cooking
  6. If you are using a flavor profile from above, get it ready and toss it with vegetables during last 10 minutes of roasting. We toss them in towards the end of cooking to keep their flavor fresher and to prevent it from burning

Roasted Vegetable Timetable

Serve with


  • Perfect dinner template + leftovers: Any protein; throw leftovers into a salad the next day
  • Vegetarian protein bowl: Steam up some quinoa and turn into a quinoa bowl with some dressing
  • Taco-fy: Crack open a can of beans. Rinse, drain, and saute. Spoon roasted vegetables and beans into tortillas, and top with some sour cream

Roast away!

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow! So simple, yet so delicious. I tried your “greek” flavor profile and the family loved it. I’m among those that have always just microwaved, steamed, or sauteed. I’m so glad to have more options now.

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