Perfectly roasting vegetables is easier than you know with these easy tips. You’ll be a caramelizing veggie machine in no time!
1) Size does matter
Whether you cut potato wedges or dice rutabaga, all pieces should be similarly sized to ensure even cooking.
2) Shake ’em up
Rotate your sheets (meaning spin and also change racks) half way through the roasting time to prevent burning. With medium-sized vegetables and an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, total time in the oven should be around 20 minutes.
3) Give them their space
Crowding will result in steaming, opposed to roasting, because of the evaporation of liquid emitted by their neighbor. And we definitely want that caramelization!
4) Density check
Vegetables have varying densities, e.g. carrot versus broccoli, and thus have varying cooking times. Combine the denser veggies on one baking sheet, and less dense on another. If all the veggies can fit onto one sheet and you don’t want to dirty another (believe me, I get that), group the same veggies together as not to mix them for easier removal. Remember, they tend to shrink while roasting, so you may as well do two sheets (yummy leftovers, too!)
5) A Fine Line with oil and seasoning
The key to a lightly crispy roast with big flavor. I like to toss my veggies in olive oil, but more important than the type of oil is the amount. Too little, they’ll come out dry and burnt. Too much and they’re soggy and saturated with oil. You want each piece to be lightly coated, where only parts are glistening, about 1 Tbs. per 2 side servings.
I generally pick the simple route and season veggies with salt and pepper so I don’t mask the taste of each veggie. Whichever spices you choose, season generously, about 1/2 tsp. of seasoning per 2 side servings.
6) The Trick!
It’s one my fabulous colleague at Fine Cooking Magazine, Julia Levy, taught me while we were developing a winter salad recipe. When you’re heating the oven, throw in the empty baking sheets. When the oven is at temperature and the veggies are prepared, dump them on the hot sheets (remember to leave space) and return to the oven to roast. It jump starts the searing process, but mostly the sizzle you’ll hear is super gratifying after all that chopping!
Find great inspiration for roasted vegetable salads here.