File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                arious roasted vegetables cooling on a rack in Amagansett, N.Y. The key to roasting and grilling is having the natural sugars in the vegetables browned and caramelized, resulting in both great texture and flavour.

File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS arious roasted vegetables cooling on a rack in Amagansett, N.Y. The key to roasting and grilling is having the natural sugars in the vegetables browned and caramelized, resulting in both great texture and flavour.

Roasting vegetables is a basic of simple, healthy cooking

Roasting vegetables is a basic of simple, healthy cooking

Cooking at home more these days? Here’s a primer on a basic technique for creating simple, healthy meals: roasting vegetables.

If you love ordering deeply caramelized, crispy Brussels sprouts, carrots or cauliflower from a restaurant but have never made them yourself, now is your chance to experience just how easy it is.

The secret to the addicting flavour of roasted — or grilled — food is that the natural sugars in the food are browned and caramelized, resulting in great texture and flavour.

You need very little equipment to roast vegetables indoors. If you have a sheet pan and a rack that fits in the sheet pan — think cookie cooling rack — you can roast vegetables just like your favourite restaurant does. I place a sheet of parchment on the bottom of the pan to make the cleanup easier, but you could use foil in a pinch.

Once you have the equipment in place, decide what veggies to roast. With a thin coating of olive oil and some kosher salt, almost every root vegetable turns into “garden candy.” The same goes for dense vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. To make sure all the vegetables are done at the same time, roast vegetables of similar size and weight together. I love the dark, deeply caramelized bits, so I let them roast until they have crispy, dark, toasty edges and are soft and creamy inside.

The key is letting the vegetables roast slowly at a classic roasting temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit. A higher temperature will brown the outside before the inside has cooked through, and they will be crunchy, not soft and creamy.

Baby carrots with the tops on are my favourite root vegetable to roast whole. They add colour and drama to the plate, and the natural sweetness of the carrots intensifies and deepens. They are sweet, savory and addicting.

I also love Brussels sprouts cut in half and roasted cut side down until the edges curl up.

Any kind of squash or potato is easily roasted when cut into slabs or cubes and lightly coated with olive oil, salt, and fresh or dried herbs like rosemary and thyme. If the vegetables are small, like baby potatoes, they are best left whole so the outside can puff up and become crunchy, while the inside steams and becomes silky.

Keep the food elevated in the oven so the hot air can rotate around it, and make sure every exposed surface is coated with olive oil so no moisture can escape.

The cooking time will generally be 45 to 60 minutes, but will depend on the size and weight of the food. A small paring knife inserted in the centre will tell you if the vegetable’s done. If the knife goes in as easily as into soft butter, and the outside is nicely browned, the food is done.

Let the vegetables rest for a few minutes on the rack, and serve hot or at room temperature.

As good as they are plain, roasted vegetables are even better with a finishing touch of flavour. Sprinkle with a bit of spice or fragrant olive oil, or brush on a bold vinaigrette to add a touch of acid and oil.

Any leftover roasted vegetables are delicious the next day chopped and added to a salad, served as an antipasto platter at room temperature, or made into a sandwich.

Food

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake Grade 2 students in Holiday Healing Campaign

Students in Nicole Eleniak’s class worked to share love and joy with other children this holiday

File photo by Red Deer Advocate
Programs, events and team activities cancelled at Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre

The new changes at the NexSource Centre are temporary and are a response the Provincial mandates

Alberta premier Jason Kenney declared a public health state of emergency Tuesday and sweeping new measures as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

High schools shift to online learning, businesses face new restrictions

The tree decorated in red decorations is called the Buffalo Plaid Cottage Tree. Papple says this tree has more of a "taditional, cottage-y feel." (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake resident auctioning decorated Christmas trees to help local charities

Shauntel Papple is auctioning two fully decorated trees to benefit AACS and Youth Unlimited

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A pedestrian wears masks while out walking in front of the Alberta Legislature as the COVID-19 numbers spike in Edmonton on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctor says Alberta restrictions not enough to reduceCOVID-19 strain on hospitals

Mithani notes people are still allowed to gather indoors at large places of worship and in bars,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

Ilaria Rubino is shown in this undated handout image at University of Alberta. Alberta researcher Rubino has developed technology allowing mostly salt to kill pathogens in COVID-19 droplets as they land on a mask. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Alberta
Alberta researcher gets award for COVID-19 mask innovation

The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval.

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer. (Photo submitted)
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read