The basic recipe is simple: line a cookie sheet with foil, place evenly cut, clean dry fresh vegetables on the sheet and toss lightly with olive oil and salt. Making sure they are no more than one layer deep, bake at 450 degrees for 12 - 20 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender (i.e. you can pierce them with a fork).
My son (21) attends the Riverview School in Sandwich, MA and in his dorm, they cook dinner together most nights. He recently send me a picture of the roast vegetables he prepared for his dorm. If a bunch of young 20-something men can cook roast vegetables - and enjoy eating them - you can be pretty sure you can cook and enjoy them too.
A word about salt. Salt has a bad name, and part of that is well-deserved. If you look at the back of a can of soup, frozen dinner or many other prepared foods, the amount of salt per serving is shocking; sometimes as much as your entire recommended daily intake. However, when you cook food that is REAL (i.e. not manufactured), adding a bit of salt is often a crucial step for great flavor. So when you make this recipe, add more than a pinch; unless you're on a salt-restricted diet, it's not going to hurt you.
Here is a partial list of vegetables that taste great roasted:
- Asparagus (snap off woody base of stem, usually about 1", and roast whole)
- Beets (boil until the peel slips off and cut to 3/4" cubes)
- Broccoli (break into equal sized florets, about 1")
- Brussels sprouts (trim and halve, also see my recipe for brussels sprouts roasted with bacon)
- Butternut squash (peel and cut into 3/4" cubes)
- Carrots (cut into 1" pieces, peel if desired)
- Cauliflower (break into equal sized florets, about 1")
- Garlic (peel and trim end but leave bulbs whole)
- Onion (peel and cut into 3/4" pieces)
- Parsnip (peel and cut into 3/4" pieces)
- Potatoes (especially the waxier types such as red, blue or yukon gold; cut into 3/4" cubes)
- Sweet Potatoes (peel and cut into 3/4" - 1" cubes; they cook more quickly than regular potatoes, so cut the sweet potatoes larger if roasting together)
Another way to do this is on the grill. If you have a grill basket, you can use that, but if not, do what countless generations of scouts have done: roast them in a foil packet with a couple of holes punched on each side.
Here are some great combinations:
Asparagus, multicolored peppers and shallots (pictured before roasting below)
Potato, carrot and onion
Beets, white onion, butternut squash
Butternut, carrot, parsnip and red onion
Sweet potato and white potato ("crazy taters")
Red, white and blue miniature potatoes (you can buy this mixture)
My personal favorites are asparagus, multi-colored carrots (just trim off the top) and broccoli. I have eaten an entire pound of asparagus prepared this way; ditto for farmstand carrots.
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