TECHNIQUE: Roasting Fall Vegetables

by Sandy Todd Webster on Sep 23, 2015

Food for Thought

Heirloom tomatoes and pole beans have sung their swan song for the season, but there is a bounty of hardy autumn crops ready to step in and play the starring role for a few months.

One of the simplest cooking techniques to bring out the best qualities of cold-weather squashes, turnips, parsnips, beets, carrots and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) is roasting. It’s a practically foolproof way to get dinner on the table without much hassle and to make vegetables the main event on the plate. Try roasting two or three types of vegetables and also preparing a whole grain such as farro, bulgur, quinoa, millet, barley, etc., as a complement. Voila╠Ç! Ring the dinner bell.

Let these general roasting guidelines inspire you to try something new this month.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. A “hot” oven will help caramelize the natural sugars in the vegetables.
  • Chop or break vegetables into uniform bite-sized chunks or roast the vegetable whole. Smaller pieces cook faster and crisp better.
  • For easy cleanup, put a piece of parchment paper on a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet. Space the vegetables out for even cooking.
  • Either drizzle the veggies with a scant amount of extra virgin olive oil or measure the oil into a resealable plastic bag or a bowl. Add the veggies and toss to coat. The oil is meant to be a sticking medium for seasoning and should be used sparingly.
  • Season the vegetables. If plain salt and pepper are too boring, try adding curry mixes, Aleppo pepper, taco seasoning—whatever you’re feeling in the mood for.
  • Roast until soft or slightly browned/crisped on edges. Not all vegetables roast at the same pace. For example, beets will take longer than cauliflower, which will take longer than broccoli.
  • Experiment! In addition to dabbling with different herbs and spices, try different presentations. Toss a mix of roasted veggies in with your favorite pasta; make tacos with all the trimmings; put the vegetables in a wrap with a light, creamy goat cheese; or toss them with kale or arugula for a warm salad.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.