Helpful Tips and Tricks for the Best Roasted Vegetables this Fall

Now that we're starting to shift gears, from grilling just about everything to utilizing the oven more, it's the perfect time to know how to successfully prepare one of the easiest side dishes. Oven roasted vegetables, whether it be root vegetables or winter squash or something like Brussels sprouts or zucchini, is one of the best ways to really bring out delicious flavors. Many veggies are packed full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and calcium, so why not enjoy these nutritional benefits while eating something delectable?

Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sugars and sweet flavor, so picky eaters really have nothing to complain about! Roasting will also give veggies a crisp, caramelized outside while the interior remains soft and easy to chew. I'm all about roast vegetables this season, but I have to say, it took me a while to get it just right.

As long as you have the helpful tips and tricks with you in the kitchen, you'll get the perfect roasted vegetables every time. Check them out below.

1. Use Enough Fat

Don't be afraid to use just enough olive oil to coat your vegetables. It is one of the key ingredients for perfect roasted veggies. If you don't use enough, your vegetables will be dry and not crispy. Toss your veggies and olive oil in a large bowl, or simply combine on the baking sheet.

However, you do want to be careful about being heavy handed with the olive oil. Too much olive oil will make them greasy and prevent them from crisping. A good measurement to keep in mind is about 1-2 tablespoons per baking sheet. If you're roasting something porous like mushrooms or yellow squash, you might need a little more olive oil.

2. Separate Certain Vegetables

If you're planning on roasting a whole bunch of different vegetables, pay close attention to the density and water content of each one. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips will have a longer roasting time than asparagus, green beans, and bell peppers. Start by roasting your longer cook-time root vegetables first and then combine them with the quicker-cooking veggies.

3. Cut Your Vegetables Around the Same Size

I know it takes time to perfect knife skills, but try to cut your vegetables into equal sizes (about 1- inch pieces). Doing so will ensure that they roast evenly and that the cooking time is the same, so the prep time is worth it.

4. Arrange Vegetables in a Single Layer

No one likes cleaning multiple sheet pans after dinner, but overcrowding just one pan with a ton of veggies is a big no-no! Piling too many vegetables on the pan will actually steam them instead of roast, which isn't worth a quicker clean up. You can always use a layer of aluminum foil so cleaning is easier!

Try and arrange vegetables in a single layer so they turn brown and crisp instead of mushy. This is also true when you reheat your veggies. Enjoy the perfect side dish!

5. Rotate the Sheet Pan

This is one of my favorite tips that I use even when I'm not roasting vegetables. I do it with a batch of cookies, cakes, or even cupcakes.

It's always a good idea to rotate your pans halfway through since almost every oven has hot spots. This will ensure that every vegetable gets perfectly cooked through and one side doesn't get darker than the other. It's also not a bad idea to use a spatula to flip the vegetables so they move around and don't burn.

6. Cook at a High-Temperature

Sure, setting the oven to a lower temperature will cook vegetables, but you probably won't get that deep, golden brown color and caramelization on each one that you would with high heat.

Preheat the temperature between 425-450 degrees F for crisp, tasty vegetables that are also cooked through. Plus, this reduces the total time.

7. Add a Pop of Flavor

Kosher salt/sea salt and black pepper are a must to flavor roasted vegetables, but you make them a little more exciting by tossing in some fresh herbs like oregano, some diced garlic cloves or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

One of my favorite side dishes right about now is roasted butternut squash tossed with a little maple syrup and nutmeg. Play around and experiment with the veggies and ingredients you have in your kitchen!

This post was originally published on September 10, 2018.