You could probably relate when I tell you that thinking of what to have for lunch or dinner is not an easy task at all. I live alone and I am still having this problem every week, how much more those people who live with their families or those who have kids. Assuming I eat lunch every day, that means 365 lunch ideas in a year and I’m not even counting the dinner just to make the point simpler. I guess you already get the point, right?
I am on the habit of planning my everyday activity, including what to wear and what to eat (at least the main meals). I go off rail from time to time, especially during summer and holidays when it’s just difficult to say no to treats and goodies. But those are life simple pleasures, so I don’t mind giving in.
I normally plan my weekly meals and prepare what I can prepare on weekends, mostly on Sunday. I love eating veggies as much as I love sweets, and I love simple and easy recipe, better yet those meals that does not really require any recipe. This is why roasted or baked pan sheet veggies are my recent favorite, and I think they will remain to be my all-time favorite. Anything that requires less work to prepare, they stays in my favorite list.
Roasting/Baking veggies are the easiest thing to do, just follow this simple tips and you’re sure to enjoy your quick and easy meals in no time.
Tips for Roasting/Baking Veggies
- What veggies to roast: Root vegetables are great candidate for roasting, the likes of potato, carrot and yam. Other all-time favorite are squash, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus, beets, onions and tomato.
- Be generous with seasonings: When I say be generous, I don’t mean go crazy sprinkling salt and pepper and other spices. Just sprinkle enough to give the vegetables taste once it’s roasted. You don’t want to eat a salty or bland roasted vegetable. Most vegetables are bland in raw form, and unless you want your roasted veggies like that then less use seasonings.
- Oil is a must: Oil will not only give the veggies moisture, it also enhances the taste of the vegetables as it roast/bake. It also helps get the charred burnt flavor without making the vegetable too dry and crispy. One or two tbsp. should do the job, although it depends on how much vegetables you are roasting. Add enough oil to grease the vegetables, but not too much that it creates a puddle of oil in the pan. The last thing that you want is a greasy roasted vegetable.
- Give vegetables space to breathe: Crowding the pan doesn’t help as it creates steam, resulting to a mushy vegetable instead of a nice charred vegetables. When roasting or baking vegetables, it’s always about the beautiful charred look that gives the vegetable the appeal.
- Roast until you see toast: It’s not a roasted veggie if you don’t see any charred or slightly burnt and crispy edges. Not only that they look better, they also taste better and it enhances the taste and flavor of the vegetables. So don’t be afraid to adjust the roasting/baking time until you see those lovely toasty edges, juts don’t burn them!
As I said earlier, roasting or baking a veggie is one of the easiest thing that you can do. There’s no experience needed, you just need to know what to roast and how to roast it. Vegetables like potato, yam, carrots, and squash are good options for roasting. But don’t forget brussels sprout, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, beets, asparagus, bell peppers and onions as they are great for roasting too. Now, there are 4 ways on how you can roast vegetables, here are your options. Choose whichever works for you.
- Interval Roasting. Roast first the vegetables that take longer time (like potato, yam, squash etc.). Halfway through the roasting, add the next batch (broccoli, cauliflower etc.), then lastly add the softer vegetables like bell peppers and onions.
- One Batch Fits All: The easiest and the method that I usually go for is the one batch fits all. It is what it says it is, mix all vegetables in one sheet pan and roast them together. This works for me because I mostly roast vegetables that requires similar roasting time.
- Same family, stays together: Roast/bake vegetables that belong to similar family, or the ones that requires almost the same time roasting. Potato, yam, carrot, squash all have a harder meat and they require more roasting time. You can roast them in first batch, then do the second batch for another group of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or brussels sprouts (provide they have been steamed in microwave for 2-3 minutes), then a 3rd batch for the likes of onions and bell peppers which are on the softer side. This will make an even roasting, and you get every vegetables roasted just right.
- Stand alone: This requires longer time, but it gets you a more even roasting for each type of vegetables. Roast vegetables separately, and roast them one after another. For example, roast potato first, then roast bell peppers etc. The only challenge with this if you are doing different type of vegetables, it will definitely take longer.
General Roasting Times for Vegetables
Roasting time varies depending on the vegetable you are using. This is just a guide, more or less something to give you an idea. These are the cooking times for roasting vegetables at 425°F. Feel free to adjust it as needed.
- Root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots): 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how small you cut them.
- Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash): 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how small you cut them.
- Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): 15 to 25 minutes. I normally steam them in microwave for 2-3 minutes before roasting them.
- Soft vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers): 10 to 20 minutes
- Thin vegetables (asparagus, green beans): 10 to 20 minutes
- Onions: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them
- Tomatoes: 15 to 20 minutes
It’s your choice what vegetables you want to roast and how you prefer to roast it. But when you are given an opportunity to make meal time preparation less complicated, grab it! We can all use some extra time to relax and chill.
They pair with almost anything. Just add a protein of your choice the likes of salmon, chicken or steak. Shrimp is a one of my favorite too. To make it a complete meal, why not cook some Quinoa or Couscous and there you go. A complete healthy meal for the entire week. Just mix and match to create variation. Enjoy your veggies people 🙂
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