Shockingly, 9 in 10 Americans are currently not eating enough vegetables and one of the many reasons explanations for this is that they don’t know how to prepare them. Granted, certain vegetables can be trickier to prepare than others, but with pre-prepared vegetables lining the shelves of most supermarkets the problem seems to come down to how to cook vegetables in a way that makes them tasty. When it comes to easy, tasty vegetable cooking techniques one method beats them all, roasting.
Roasted vegetables may be a very simple technique but its also one that’s extremely versatile. Virtually any vegetable can be roasted and turned into a delicious dish with a flavor profile from all around the world. Some Italian herbs, as used in this recipe from themediterraneandish.com, will transport you to the south coast of Italy, add a few sun-dried tomatoes and garlic for a trip to Tuscany, a little paprika, chili and cumin will have your taste buds thinking of Mexico and a dash of Chinese 5 spice will take you on an oriental adventure.
So how do you make roast vegetables?
To make delicious roasted vegetables you simply need to follow 4 golden rules:
- Cut your vegetables evenly
If you’re buying pre-prepared vegetables then this should already be done for you, but if you’re doing it yourself then be sure to cut them evenly so that each piece cooks in the same amount of time. If you’re going to be roasting more than one type of vegetable on the same tray then the size you cut each type will depend a little on how long they take to cook, for example. Red pepper will take less time to roast than a sweet potato, so cut the sweet potato into small-sized even chunks and leave the red pepper a little larger.
- Use the right amount of oil
Roasted vegetables often taste best when drizzled with a little olive oil, this helps them to roast easily and not to become dry. Over oiling your veg will make it oily, and under oiling won’t provide the same effect. What’s more, some vegetables like eggplant are more porous than others and require a little extra oil, if you’re roasting porous veg such as eggplant with non-porous veg such as broccoli then oil them separately so you can tailor the right amount.
Although vegetables and good quality olive oil have a beautiful flavor on their own, they do benefit from a little additional seasoning. Salt and pepper is a good place to start but also experiment with Italian herbs, Zatar, five-spice and other combinations for a world of flavor. Seasoning is what stops roasted vegetables from becoming boring.
- Roast at a high heat
The final key to beautiful roast vegetables is to roast them at a high heat between 400-420 degrees Fahrenheit (200-220 Celsius). This high heat ensures that the exterior goes nice and crispy whilst the interior remains soft but not mushy. Cooking low and slow will effectively steam the vegetables removing the beautiful roasted taste and making them soft all over.