How-to Make Perfectly Roasted Vegetables: Tips and Tricks
Roasting vegetables is one of the simplest cooking techniques. With very little time and effort needed, you get richly flavored vegetables with a caramelized exterior and a really nice, tender bite.
This time of year, roasted vegetables are on repeat around here. We, of course, have our most favorite go-to vegetables that we roast up super often, like broccoli and broccolini, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes, just to name a few, but the possibilities are truly endless. You can roast just about any vegetable, or any combination of vegetables — your imagination is the only limit, so I encourage your to experiment and have fun with different combinations of vegetables, seasonings and flavors.
With my fool-proof approach for roasting vegetables, I give you everything you need to make perfectly roasted vegetables every time. You’ll be armed with the tips and tricks to master your roasting. No matter the veggie or the quantity. No recipe needed.
I have some of my favorite vegetables called out by name and in the photos below, but remember, just about any vegetable can be roasted and honestly, go with my motto, if you’re not sure – ROAST IT! Worst thing that happens, it’s not your favorite! Best thing? You discover a new way to enjoy a favorite, in-season vegetable.
Check Out My Instructions on How-to Make Perfectly Roasted Vegetables. Every Time.
1) Cut Veggies to Roughly the Same Size
By keeping your vegetables at similar sizes, this promotes even cooking. Slicing the veggies gives lots of surface area for caramelizing and browning – all of the best parts of roasting. Keep in mind that shape isn’t nearly as important as consistency of size.
2) Keep Veggies with Similar Cook Times Together
One of the tragic mistakes when roasting multiple types of vegetables at the same time, is that one veggie is cooked to perfection, with a little bite, and an epic perfectly browned, caramelized outside and the other veggie it’s pair with ends up overly-cooked, too soft and mushy or even burnt. Or vice versa, one gets perfectly cooked and the other is left undercooked, raw, hard and inedible.
If and when combining multiple vegetables on the same pan, keep in mind the following approximate cook times (see below) and group together those with similar cook times. You can also cook in stages. Add veggies with a longest time needed to your tray first, cook for the additional extra time needed, then add the quicker cooking vegetables, without crowding the pan. Finally, you could keep it super simple and just keep each vegetable to their own pan.
Longer Cook Time Veggies
- approx 40 – 45 minutes at 425ºF: Starchier and harder root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, beets, parsnips, turnips, carrots, yams, pumpkin, onions, fennel, leeks, garlic, shallots
Shorter Cook Time Veggies
- approx 15 – 25 minutes at 425ºF: Brassicas cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms
- approx 10 – 20 minutes at 425ºF: zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, radishes
NOTE: these cook times can all vary quite a bit, based on how small you cut your veggies. For example on the longer cook time veggies, if you cut these vegetables on the smaller side, note that it may take more like 30-35 minutes and so on.
Finally, I have found 425ºF to give the most consistency great results across the board with all vegetables. You can feel free to adjust that temperature up or down, as you’d like, as you experiment more.
BONUS: If you have a convection oven, roasted vegetables LOVE a convection oven. Convection ovens work by circulating hot air around the oven and wicking away any steam and moisture, which allows vegetables to brown more quickly and evenly. Game changer.
Arrange your veggies in a single layer and don’t allow them to overlap and crowd. If they are too close together and there isn’t enough room, they will steam rather than roast. Kiss those nicely browned edges goodbye! Split your vegetables between multiple baking sheets, if you need to.
4) Don’t Skimp on the Oil, But Don’t Drown your Veggies
Oil helps the vegetables to crisp up and cook more evenly, but it also imparts a really rich flavor. I always opt for Terra Delyssa Organic Olive Oil, as my number one choice for roasting vegetables. I find the flavor to be perfectly mild, delicate and super complimentary, no matter what veggie I roast. Of course, you can also use ghee or butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, bacon fat, duck fat or any other oil, you’d like.
Whatever oil you choose, use enough to get a light coating on the vegetables, but don’t drown the veggies either. Avoid a bunch of oil pooling on the bottom of the pan. I drizzle the olive oil over the veggies, usually about 1 to 2 tablespoons per large sheet pan of vegetables, and then toss with my hands to make sure everything is evenly coated. Take note that porous vegetable like mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini may absorb more of the oil, so you may need a bit more. Practice and you’ll get it right.
5) Season with Garlic, Herbs, Spices or Infused Olive Oils for Extra Flavor
Obviously you will want to season your vegetables with some quality sea salt and a little black pepper, but you can really opt for any other seasonings you’d like, as well. Be generous, but don’t go crazy — add enough so that every piece of vegetable gets just a little. Try thyme, rosemary or oregano. If you like heat, sprinkle on some chili flakes. Curry powder is one of my favorites as is cumin or coriander, chili powder, and so on. See below, for additional flavor ideas when serving, after the vegetables are done cooking. With herbs, best to save the soft, leafy herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, mint or dill, for after the vegetables are cooked.
6) Toss Halfway Through Cooking for Even Browning
Give your veggies a toss so that they cook evenly, all over and to encourage browning on all surfaces. Roast until the vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork and you see some nice charred bits on the edges.
7) Serve Immediately
Give another sprinkle of salt and maybe a few fresh herbs, serve as is or toss or top with a sauce or flavoring, pesto, salsa, chimichurri, balsamic vinegar, a squeeze or zest of fresh lemon, harissa paste, romesco sauce, a dollop of yogurt, green goddess dressing or green tahini sauce, a sprinkle of pecorino or parmesan, etc. etc.
Roasted vegetables are great as a side dish or even a main if you are building an epic bowl with your favorite protein. Ahem, FYI a yolky fried egg served over roasted vegetables, is just about the greatest thing in the whole world. Toss them into a seasonal salad or with your favorite pasta or grain.
Go easy on the tomatoes or better yet, consider roasting them alone. They give off a fair amount of liquid and you don’t want to drown your other veggies, you’ll make them mushy and sad.
I always suggest selecting the freshest vegetables possible; roasting will intensify their flavor, so it’s important they be good at the start.
Large rimmed metal baking sheets are ideal for roasting — this allows the vegetables room to roast without steaming, and I find the hot metal encourages the best caramelization as compared to a glass baking dish.
You can line your pan with parchment paper, for easy cleanup if you’d like, but I just find I get the best results without it.
- 1-2 lbs of vegetables of your choice
- Terra Delyssa Olive Oil, 1 - 2 tablespoons per large sheet pan
- sea salt, black pepper and any herbs or spices
- Rimmed metal baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Allow the oven to fully preheat. Arrange your rack in the middle position.
- Wash and adequately pat dry the vegetables (dried vegetables will roast much better, so be sure to limit moisture). Peel if desired/needed and chop or slice into fairly uniform pieces.
- Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet, being mindful not to crowd the pan. Crowded vegetables will not roast but rather will end up steaming.
- Drizzle or brush the vegetables with olive oil (or other oil of your choice) and toss well to coat evenly.
- Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and herbs and or spices, if desired.
- Roast in the preheated oven for the appropriate time (see above suggested times), check and stir halfway through cooking.
- Roast until the vegetables reach your desired degree of doneness and caramelization. Pierce with a knife or fork to determine that tenderness.
- Serve immediately.
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