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  • Nancy Boudreau, RYT, CHHC

How to Cook Vegetables So They Taste Good - Part 1

Eat your veggies!

Loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. But let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how good they are for you if you don’t like eating them. If you think the only healthy way to eat vegetables is steamed or boiled to a bland, mushy mess, I’m about to blow your mind.

Oven roasting is by far my favorite way to cook vegetables. They come out slightly charred and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, sweet and savory tasting goodness – YUM!

There are so many ways you can use oven-roasted vegetables: Serve them as a side dish, add them to a sandwich, mix with some brown rice or quinoa or add them to a sauce and serve over pasta.

What vegetables can I roast in the oven?

You can roast ANY vegetable. My new favorite in the rotation is green beans, but I also love roasted asparagus, broccoli, and a root vegetable medley of carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes. My all-time favorite is oven fries made with wedges of russet or quartered baby Yukon gold potatoes.

How do I prep my vegetables?

Wash and pat them dry. Cut them into uniform size pieces. For example, wedge or quarter potatoes and onions. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Cut Brussel sprouts in half. Slice bell peppers into strips. Keep cherry tomatoes whole. Cut carrots into coins.

Don’t make yourself crazy, just try to get them all approximately the same size and you’re good to go.

There’s no shame in buying produce that is already cleaned and chopped. You pay a little extra but you’re more likely to use them if they’re prepped and ready to go.

How do I season my vegetables?

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and mix until coated. Start with a couple of teaspoons of oil and add more if you need to. I like doing this in a bowl because the vegetables get more evenly coated with oil. If you don’t want to dirty a bowl, just drizzle the oil over them in the pan and mix with your hands.

Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Don’t skimp on the seasoning—it makes all the difference. If you want to get fancy, add a sprinkle of spice mix that’s been rattling around in your cupboard – Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence are two delicious options.

How do I roast the vegetables and for how long?

Spread the vegetables out on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. The parchment paper isn’t required but it does make for quicker cleanup.

Don’t crowd the vegetables on the pan. Leave space between them otherwise they’ll steam instead of roast. If you want to do a lot of vegetables at once, spread them out on two sheet pans and switch racks halfway through cooking time.

I like to roast my vegetables in a 425-degree F oven. At this temperature, harder vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, onions and winter squash can take anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes depending on how large the pieces are.

Softer vegetables like peppers, cabbage, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and cherry tomatoes can take about 13 - 20 minutes.

If you want to mix hard and soft vegetables—say carrots with broccoli and green beans—put the carrots in first and let them get a head start for about 10 – 12 minutes. Then add the broccoli and onions

How do I know when they’re done?

To see if the vegetables are done, stick a fork in ‘em! There should be a little resistance. You don’t want to cook them to complete mush.

When they’re done, serve as is, or finish them off with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese or freshly chopped parsley or basil

Ok – let’s give it a try!

Recipe For Oven-Roasted Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

  • Wash your vegetables and pat them dry. Cut them into approximately the same size so they cook evenly.

  • Drizzle vegetables with olive oil.

  • Spread your vegetables on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.

  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add other seasonings if you like.

  • Put them in the oven to roast. Stir or shake the pan halfway through cooking time.

  • Cook softer vegetables for 13 – 20 minutes and hard vegetables for 30 – 45 minutes.

  • Serve as is or top with grated parmesan cheese or freshly chopped parsley or basil.

Oven-roasted vegetables will keep for a few days in the fridge, but they taste so good that they probably won’t last that long.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Stay tuned – My next post will be on how to grill vegetables to perfection.

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