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Julie Kelly's Blog

Easy, healthy and delicious: Oven-roasted vegetables

Like most of us raised during the 70s and 80s, I ate vegetables prepared in a few unappetizing ways: warmed up out of a can or frozen bag. Fresh vegetables were somewhat of a luxury. We ate corn, tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer; green beans were slow-cooked with bacon for hours into unrecognizable mush. I don’t recall ever eating asparagus or cauliflower.

We are so fortunate – particularly here in the suburbs – to have access to many grocers offering a variety of fresh vegetables throughout the year. From purple cauliflower to white asparagus, we can prepare a different vegetable for dinner each night. While boiling or pan-sautéing vegetables are the go-to preparation methods for most home cooks, I prefer the easiest and tastiest: oven-roasted.

Roasted vegetables have a deeper flavor and finish firmer and crispier. You can add flavoring ingredients to the vegetables during the roasting process, something you can’t do when steaming or boiling.

Asparagus – in full season right now – is a great vegetable to roast in the oven. Thinner stalks can be cooked in about five minutes. I prepared asparagus last night and added several sliced cherry tomatoes to the pan that made a tasty topping. My recipe for Roasted Asparagus Soup is a fan favorite.

From asparagus to broccoli to carrots, here are a few basics:

  1. Use a hot oven, about 425°. Thin asparagus will cook the quickest, about 5 minutes. Cauliflower a bit longer, around 12 minutes. Thick asparagus, broccoli and whole carrots, about 8 minutes.
     
  2. Place veggies in a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) so the olive oil doesn’t drip.
     
  3. Give the veggies a good drizzle of olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
     
  4. If you want, toss a few garlic cloves, cherry tomatoes, onion slices or lemon wedges on the pan to flavor the vegetables after cooking and before serving.
     
  5. Other options are carrots sprinkled with fennel seeds or cauliflower tossed with blackening spice mix.
     
  6. Serve immediately…and make a lot. These veggies will go fast!

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"Julie, I really enjoyed your class and took way more away than I ever thought I would. I never in a million years thought a cooking class would make me excited to try new things!! So my hat's off to you. You are a great teacher and the recipes are so good!" 

 

Susie C., Orland Park