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:
- 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.
- Place veggies in a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) so the olive oil doesn’t drip.
- Give the veggies a good drizzle of olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
- 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.
- Other options are carrots sprinkled with fennel seeds or cauliflower tossed with blackening spice mix.
- Serve immediately…and make a lot. These veggies will go fast!