How to Roast Any Vegetable
Yield: As much as needed
Roasted veggies are easy, versatile and inexpensive, and you can use what you like or have on hand. Keep this handy guide on hand for easy answers to all your questions.

Roasting temperature and times:

My favorite temperature range for roasting vegetables is 400°F to 450°F.  I usually settle on 425°F, and the following time estimates are based on that temperature and bite-size (or roughly 1-inch) pieces.  Cooking times will vary slightly based on how large/small the pieces are cut, the color of baking sheet (dark cooks more quickly than light), and the individual oven.

  • 10-15 minutes– thin vegetables like asparagus and green beans (very thin asparagus may cook even faster)
  • 15-25 minutes– soft vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes; crucifers like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts; onions and bell peppers*
  • 20-30 minutes– winter squash (like butternut and acorn), sweet potatoes
  • 30-45 minutes–carrots, potatoes (like russets and Yukon golds), beets and cabbage wedges**

*Mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers are veggies I freely mix depending on desired outcome. A shorter roasting time yields a crisper, firmer vegetable while more time in the oven progressively softens and caramelizes.

**Again, size/thickness matters.  I recently roasted carrots in just 20 minutes by slicing them in 1/2-inch thick pieces.

Tip: When done, the tip of a sharp knife should pierce the vegetables easily.  If you’ve found roasted vegetables to be mushy in the past, chances are you simply need to reduce the cooking time.

A few more hints:

  • I prefer garlic powder to minced fresh garlic when roasting at high heats, as the little bits of fresh garlic tend to burn and become bitter.
  • Similarly, fresh herbs are best sprinkled overtop the veggies once cooked.
  • Less common but quite delicious vegetables for roasting include Jerusalem artichokes (which taste a bit more like a potato or turnip than an artichoke), radishes, celery root (also known as celeriac), turnips and parsnips.

Getting that golden brown color:

  • Food will brown more quickly when cooked on dark-coated or old, blackened baking sheets and will brown less on light colored baking sheets or when there’s an insulated barrier like a Silpat.
  • The vegetables will brown first on the underside, where they are in direct contact with the heat of the pan. Accordingly, you can increase browning by placing the flat, cut sides down and not turning until the bottoms are nicely golden.  Technically, you don’t even need to turn if the bottoms aren’t overbrowned.  Aim for color on one side; at most oven temperatures, the vegetables will be cooked through before there’s time to brown multiple sides.
  • Note that the veggies situated along the perimeter of the baking sheet tend to brown first, as ovens are hottest near the metal walls.  To avoid burning, always check the bottoms of a few of the border pieces first. (An exception to this rule occurs when the convection feature of an oven is used, as this circulates the air and maintains an even temperature throughout.)
  • If you find the vegetables are cooked to your liking but lack that appealing golden brown color, or if you simply enjoy crispy edges with a hint of char, you can broil them briefly.  Just watch closely to avoid burning.

Tips for cooking a variety of vegetables:

  • If you want to cook everything on the same baking sheet, you have three choices.  Either choose veggies that have similar cooking times, add the vegetables in stages or cut the longer-cooking vegetables in smaller pieces.  This convenience may require some trial and error, but a few minutes of extra cooking is unlikely to dramatically change the outcome or most veggies.  Just be sure to flip the vegetables if the undersides are sufficiently browned.
  • To promote even cooking and to prevent steaming the vegetables, allow for space between the pieces. If you can’t fit the vegetables in an even layer on one baking sheet, use a second one.  When using more than one baking sheet, you may use the convection setting if your oven has one, or simply rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time.

Choosing the right oil:

  • When roasting vegetables, I most frequently reach for avocado oil.  It has a high smoke point (the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and smoke), is touted for its health appeal and has a mild flavor profile similar to olive oil, one of my other kitchen staples.
  • The smoke point of the commonly used extra virgin olive oil is slightly over 400°F.  Virgin and light olive oils are more refined alternatives that carry a higher smoke point.  Generally speaking, the more refined an oil is, the higher its smoke point, because refining removes elements that cause the oil to smoke. Refined oils typically have a neutral taste and smell as well as a clear appearance.
  • Butter, for example, has a modest smoke point of 350°F, while ghee, a type of clarified butter from which the water and milk solids have been removed, has a smoke point of over 450°F, making it an excellent option for cooking at high heat.

Smoke points of various oils:

  • Avocado oil – 520°F
  • Butter – 350°F
  • Coconut oil – 350°F (higher heat culinary options are available)
  • Canola oil – 400°F
  • Corn oil – 450°F
  • Flaxseed oil – 225°F
  • Ghee(clarified butter)– 450°F
  • Grapeseed oil – 390°F
  • Olive oil – 320°F (extra virgin), 420°F (virgin), 465°F (light), 468°F (extra light)
  • Peanut oil – 450°F
  • Safflower oil – 510°F
  • Sesame oil – 350°F (unrefined), 450°F (refined)
  • Soybean oil – 450°F
  • Sunflower oil – 450°F
  • Walnut oil – 320°F

Note: Variations in the listed smoke points will exist based on how refined any particular oil may be.

Interesting flavor combinations and additions:

  • Try peanut oil instead of olive oil (delicious on broccoli)
  • Use coconut oil for an aromatic note (complements sweet potatoes and carrots quite nicely)
  • Toss roasted cauliflower with Frank’s Original Hot Sauce and a little butter
  • Pair roasted cauliflower with green curry
  • A drizzle of honey or maple syrup plays up the sweet notes of winter squash and root veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips and carrots
  • For a salty, savory note, lightly coat veggies with grated Parmesan cheese during the last 10-12 minutes of cooking time
  • Incorporate flavorful spices like cumin, chili powder, curry, Italian seasoning and garlic powder along with the salt and pepper
  • Add zing with spicy choices like harissa, cayenne pepper or gochujang
  • A touch of balsamic vinegar, lemon or lime juice or Dijon mustard will provide a touch of tang
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika or smoked salts will yield an appealing smokiness

Make it a meal:

Roasted vegetables are a delightful side dish, but don’t stop there.  They lend flavor and heft to a seemingly endless combination of “bowls,” an increasingly popular concept thanks to their healthy, affordable, flexible nature.

  • Start by piling roasted vegetables on top of your favorite cooked grain, greens or a mix of both.
  • Chopped, cooked chicken, shrimp, pork and steak are worthy protein choices and offer a great way to stretch a small amount of leftovers among several diners.
  • Similarly, a little bit of bacon or sausage goes a long way, but roasted veggie bowls can be satisfying meatless meals, too.
  • Protein-rich meatless options include eggs, shelled edamame, chickpeas and other beans and legumes , and tofu.
  • Drizzle with your favorite dressing or vinaigrette, or use a dollop of guacamole, hummus or salsa.
  • “Finishing touches” of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, avocado and/or cheese provide an extra layer of flavor and texture.
  • Bowl meals can be enjoyed warm, cold or room temperature and, because they travel well, are great for work or school lunches.

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