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Tasty Roasted Veggies

Natalie Hollingshead | Photos by Mary Harper Sep 12, 2019

If over-steamed broccoli and bland boiled potatoes come to mind when cooked vegetables are mentioned, it may be hard to muster enthusiasm for them as a side dish. But take one bite of perfectly roasted vegetables and you’ll likely change your mind.

Roasting vegetables is an easy way to get a huge flavor payoff for not a lot of work. It’s not a new method but one that’s in vogue in an age of sheet-pan meals and make-ahead conveniences.

“Food trends are cyclical,” says Scott Hamilton, a private chef, caterer and cooking instructor based in Orem, Utah. “I think roasting itself really never lost its popularity, but one-pot meals have brought a new focus to roasting. Also, it’s a trend to see what you’re eating, and you’re not hiding anything with roasting.”

Roasting also gives a longer color pop and retains nutrients better than boiling or steaming. Plus, once you slide those veggies in the oven and set a timer, your work is practically done.

Here’s what you need to know for a tasty end result.

1. Leave vegetables as whole as possible

For ultimate flexibility, keep vegetable pieces large, especially if you’re making them ahead of time. “I try to leave things as whole as possible because that way you have more options later on,” Hamilton says. He roasts a large batch of veggies every week to repurpose into other meals, folding them into greens with a fried egg on top or incorporating them into a mayo-based chicken salad.

2. Stick with a uniform size

Keep chopped vegetables roughly the same size so they roast evenly. If you mix and match vegetables, consider cook time as you pair them together. Add vegetables that cook faster after roasting is already underway.

3. Spread in an even layer

Only roast as many vegetables as fit in a single layer. “You want as many veggies as possible to be exposed to the direct heat,” Hamilton says. “That’s what is going to give you the caramelization and crust from the dry heat of roasting.” When you stack vegetables, they steam instead of roast. But if you’re adding a protein, place it on top so the fat melts down and flavors the veggies.

4. High heat is key

Roasting vegetables isn’t the time to go low and slow — make sure you’re using a hot oven, around 375-400 degrees, to avoid a soggy end product. Speaking of soggy, use only enough oil so that veggies don’t stick to the pan. Hamilton suggests putting your pan in the oven while it preheats for a nice sear and less sticking.

5. Have fun with flavors

Seasonings can be as simple as salt and pepper or as exotic as grated ginger, mustard powder and soy sauce for an Asian flair. Hamilton loves to roast vegetables with chopped garlic and fresh herbs. He recommends applying sparingly if you’re storing roasted veggies for future meals and heavier if serving immediately. “A little bit of acid — vinegar, lemon, lime — will take vegetables to another level of light and fresh. It really brightens them up,” he says. His favorite combo is a little bit of balsamic vinegar and parmesan.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Balsamic and Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove excess stem and leaves from cauliflower, leaving it whole. Combine olive oil and spices in a small bowl. Rub oil mixture all over the cauliflower bottom as well as top. Flip cauliflower over and drizzle half of the balsamic vinegar through the bottom of the cauliflower so that it drips inside of cauliflower. Place in aluminum foil lined sheet tray and place in oven for 20 minutes.

Remove and sprinkle about half of the parmesan cheese on cauliflower. Place back in oven and cook additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven when the top of the cauliflower is nice and golden brown. Let rest about 5 minutes. Portion into “steaks” or into wedges and garnish with remaining cheese, balsamic and parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Scott Hamilton

Roasted Summer Vegetables and Lemon Cottage Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, cut into half-moons, similar width to the asparagus spears
  • 12 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ear of corn on the cob
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup large-curd cottage cheese, rinsed 
  • 1 yellow neck squash, cut into half-moons, similar width to the asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil. In a small bowl combine basil, thyme, parsley and zest of lemon, and mix together. In a large bowl combine zucchini, yellow neck squash, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Season the mixed vegetables with salt, pepper and half of the herb mixture, then gently toss with the olive oil. Cut the ear of corn in half lengthwise and place it on the middle of the lined sheet tray. Pour seasoned vegetables over the corn and on to the sheet tray, then spread vegetables into a single layer. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the corn off the cob and combine corn with vegetables, rinsed cottage cheese, half of the remaining herb blend and the juice from half of the lemon. Check the seasoning and salt to taste or add more lemon if needed. Garnish with remaining herb blend and serve warm or cold.

Recipe courtesy of Scott Hamilton

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