There’s something so comforting about having the vegetables on a good, hearty meal. While there are some out there who likes to create the perfect pairing of vegetables with their meal, choosing a complimentary side dish to their chicken- or whatever they decided to pull in to the restaurant that week- there are some, like myself, who are simply happy with a big pile of roasted veggies. Especially during those colder months.
One thing we can all agree on though, is that good food draws people together. No matter what your personal taste is, a well-cooked vegetable can make or break a meal. So, here we discuss how to get the most from your roast, while giving you some sneaky hints and tips as to how to make your roast vegetables the best of the best.
Best Vegetables To Roast
It’s no secret that pretty much any vegetable can be roasted, presuming you get the timing and level of heat just right. That said, there are just some veggies that take better to the oven. Generally speaking, the easiest and most family-friendly vegetables to roast will be any root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes and turnips all work well with a good oven and can easily be seasoned to create tasty roasted vegetables. They’re also easily available throughout the year and usually can be found from local shops- meaning they’ll be the freshest available at any given time, leading to a much more wholesome roast.
That said, there are other firm favourites in this category that you will have undoubtedly come across when searching for roasted vegetable recipes online. These will usually include peppers, butternut squash, brussels sprouts and cauliflower- all of which are just as delicious although with a few more limitations on how much flavour they can soak up through seasoning.
Essentially, it all comes down to personal taste. The good news is that there is such a wide range of vegetables around at any given time, that you can literally pick and choose which ones you fancy that day. Even better, for families with varied tastes or, if you’re cooking roasted vegetables for a crowd, it’s so easy to add a variety to any good roasting dish and let each family member, or friend, pick out their own veggies at the dinner table.
Benefits Of Roasted Vegetables
The biggest benefit of roasted vegetables will always be having the ability to get even the fussiest eaters eating their vegetables, at all! While steaming will always be the healthiest version of cooking vegetables, it’s a sad fact that, sometimes, veggies just don’t taste as good when steamed. It should also be considered that raw vegetables are naturally going to be the healthiest method of serving your veggies up- but it’s very rare to find a family that involves all members being happy with this option.
There’s also a certain level of trade-off between each cooking type. For example, boiling your veggies might make the water-soluble vitamins B and C disappear- but any form of cooking can also make your all-time favourites easier to digest, meaning your body is more likely to reap the rewards of the nutrients available, since it can absorb more of them than it might have been able to if the vegetables were raw.
Suffice to say, any method of heating or cooking will alter the nutritional value of your fruit and veg, no matter which you choose. So, you might as well choose the one that gives you the most flavour for the nutritional value available. As such, roasting vegetables helps to give you and your family antioxidants, vitamin B and C, and any number of unique vitamins and minerals that come along with each specific piece of veg.
The key, as with all healthy foods, is to stack your plate with as much of the good stuff as possible, while also being careful not to add too much bad stuff to make it taste better. It’s similar to a salad in that way- there’s no point getting a very healthy salad, only to pour on endless sauces and condiments, which negate the benefits of the meal. So, try not to completely cover your roasted vegetables with too much oil or sweeten with sugar.
As always though, you have us to do the hard work for you- below, we discuss the best way to season roasted vegetables to get a good, healthy balance of vitamins and nutrients, while still getting some tasty sides to your dinner.
How To Season For The Best Roasted Vegetables Ever
The easiest and simplest way to season your roasted vegetables are by using the four main taste-booster- salt (used sparingly can compliment any dish), pepper (adding a little spice and a gentle flavour), balsamic vinegar (you can add this to your dish after they’ve cooked) and honey (being mindful of those who may suffer from allergies, this is a great, natural sweetener that brings out a mouth-watering flavour in most root vegetables). You can mix and match any of these to your preference
If you’re looking for flavourings while the veg are cooking, then some simple additions can make a world of difference. For example, adding some onions or cloves of garlic can completely change the entire sensory experience of any dish. Just be sure not to overload your roasting pan with too many cloves, or you’ll be smelling like your dinner for the rest of the week!
You can also try a sprig or two of rosemary to give your roast a higher class of smell and taste to your dish. Without a doubt, it’s amazing how much difference a simple addition can make. As long as your flavouring match your dish, it would be hard to go wrong. Rosemary can be a great addition to full roast dinners, complete with gravy. However, it probably wouldn’t fare so well with fish, which would probably require a lighter flavouring, such as lemon or a light vinaigrette.
The best tip I can give, no matter what meal you’re after, is to try and use a spray instead of lining your plate with oil. If you are using an oil though, try to go for a healthier oil such as sunflower or olive over the standard forms. Only use a light layer and be sure to toss your veggies around the dish before placing it in the oven, so the oil evenly coats all of your vegetables. This way you’ll get the most bang for your buck and no, one vegetable should end up basically being fried, while the rest end up dry.
Cooking Roasted Vegetables For A Crowd
We’ve briefly mentioned that tasty oven roasted summer vegetables are perfect for larger groups. Having the ability to pop a lot of different items in one dish always makes it a whole lot easier for the host to be able to cater to everyone while not being inundated with pots, pans and requests from people you might suddenly decide you’re not too keen on.
One of the biggest benefits of roasted vegetables, of course, is that they’re perfect for those catering for the vegetarian and vegan crowd. If you have a vegan guest, these tasty veggies can make for a delicious and easy replacement to the usual meaty dishes. They can be cooked alongside any roasted meat (in a separate pan, of course but still during the same time frame and space) and are so simply you can literally leave them to one side while you focus on your guests- or the more complicated aspects of the dinner- whichever your preference.
Roast Vegetables FAQ:
Q: Can I Roast Frozen Vegetables?
A: Absolutely! The main thing to remember is to pop your oven on a lower setting, which allows for the vegetables to cook evenly. There are few things worse than discovering a frozen centre to a burnt outer layer. Another way to get around this is to run your veg under tepid water for a few minutes. The water should clear the ice and allow your food to defrost at a faster rate than normal.
Q: How Long Should I Roast Vegetables For?
A: There are a few different answers for this, but just bear in mind that roasting is using the heat of a dry oven in order to achieve the desired effect. So, if you’re looking for vegetables that have a slightly chargrilled effect, with a slight crispiness to the edges, you’ll want a higher temperature. If you’re looking for softer, more classic tasting vegetables, the temperature should be lower- but the time it takes for the vegetables to cook thoroughly will be longer.
On average, however the best way to cook your roasted veg will be to preheat your oven to around 425F, and leaving your veggies to roast for around 30 minutes. Feel free to poke and prod the veg at around this mark. If you prefer to have your veggies a little soft, leave them in for a little longer, while tougher, crisper vegetables will usually need a few minutes less.