If you’re looking to make perfect oven roasted vegetables, follow these tips!
Roasting the Perfect Vegetable Side Dish
Chop, spray, sprinkle, cook, done. Roasting vegetables is as easy as that right? Not quite. This does make for a pretty simple side dish that doesn’t require much prep time and allows you to cook other parts of your meal while they bake. However, there are certain elements to remember while making them that a lot of us tend to forget. Learning these basics will help you make the perfect veggies every time.
Choosing Your Vegetables
Different vegetables need to be roasted at different temperatures and for different ranges of time. There are a few ways to handle this. The first option is to use multiple pans and take them out of the oven separately. If you only have one pan, you can add (or remove) certain veggies to/from your pan midway through cooking. You could also choose to just throw them all on there, mix them around, stick to a medium temperature and cooking time, and be okay with the fact that some vegetables will turn out softer than others (I tend to choose this option a lot – laziness at its finest).
Dense vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and rutabaga, will require a slightly lower temperature (around 425 F) but a longer cook time (at least 30 minutes) in order to be soft but not overcook. Whereas higher moisture vegetables, like zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and eggplants, require a higher temperature (450 F) but for a shorter amount of time (about 15-30 minutes).
First of all, you want to try to cut your vegetables all to similar sizes. This will ensure that they cook at the same speed so you don’t have some burnt veggies while others are under-cooked. My tip from personal experience for high moisture veggies, especially zucchini, is not to cut them too thin or too small. I used to cut them in fourths. Now I cut them just lengthwise in circles and then in halves (see picture below). They ended up mushy and would fall apart when I used to cut them in fourths.
Spray and Sprinkle
You want to spray your veggies with a little cooking spray, or olive oil by using a mister (this is better than trying to drip oil on, it will use less and provide for a more even disbursement). This will ensure they don’t stick to the pan when you are finished. Also, not all veggies will require the same amount of oil to cook well. The higher the moisture content in the vegetable itself, the less you will need to use. Although you don’t want your veggies to stick, you also don’t want to use too much oil because you don’t want them to turn out greasy.
As you are tossing your veggies in oil, add your desired spices. You want to get an even coating on all of them so the seasoning isn’t concentrated on some and missing from others. My favorite spices to use on roasted vegetables are simply salt and black pepper with cayenne pepper and either Tony Chachere’s Creole SeasoningTony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, or Weber’s Roasted Herb and Garlic. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what your favorite spices for veggies are!
Now it is time to pop these veggies in the oven. We already discussed how temperature and cook times can vary, but there are a couple other tips to remember.
First, what you choose to cook in. A simple non-stick cookie sheet is your best bet for roasting veggies due to its flat surface and shorter edges. This is because vegetables contain a lot of water, and if you bake in something with curved long sides, the veggies are more likely to steam than properly roast.
Also, the back of the oven tends to be the hottest. You can use this to your advantage by placing denser vegetables on the side of the pan you will put in the back. Or also remember this so you know you will need to flip the positioning of the pan during baking so everything cooks evenly. On the same note, be sure to take the vegetables out and toss them around a little with a spatula halfway through cooking. As much as you want all the different veggies to cook evenly, the same is true for all sides of each vegetable.
Ready to Go
Now that you have some extra tricks up your sleeve for roasting the perfect vegetable, you are ready to get in the kitchen and get started!
This recipe makes a great side dish because you can choose whichever vegetables are your favorite, as well as switch up the spices to make different variations. And I think it goes without saying, this is one of the healthiest, most nutritious side dishes you can prepare. It is only veggies and spices! So eat as much as you want without having to feel any guilt.
The recipe below is using my favorite veggies and spices, but you can feel free to mix it up. If you like this, I would also be sure to try my Sweet or Savory Sweet Potatoes.
Complete Your Meal
If you know you want to make these veggies but are still looking for a great main course to pair them with, this makes a great side dish for my Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken.
These recipes together make for one of the fastest and healthiest meals you could serve your family. Not only is that something you can feel great about, but it also means you can splurge a little and make a fun dessert for afterwards. Give it a try and let me know what you think!