For many years, it seemed the only way to cook vegetables was to steam, boil, or saute. Luckily, over time, the method of roasting vegetables in the oven was discovered and is now prized for the delicious, caramelized results. You can roast nearly any vegetable or a mixture of vegetables—your imagination is the only limit, so have fun and experiment with different combinations, as well as seasonings.
It is important you use enough oil to coat the veggies, but not so much that they're swimming in it. You'll generally need at least 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of oil for a large sheet pan of vegetables, though mushrooms, eggplant, and similarly porous veggies may need a bit more. With practice, you'll get a feel for ideal amounts.
The pan and the oven temp are also key elements to the perfect roasted vegetables. Large rimmed baking sheets are ideal for roasting as the vegetables need room so they don't steam; the hot metal also encourages caramelization.
Your preferred outcome will determine the ideal roasting temperature. If you like your veggies softer and cooked through but not caramelized, the lower temperature is fine. If you like more textural variation and caramelization on your veggies, go with the higher temperature.
- Favorite vegetables, either one type or a combination
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt or Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: Herbs and/or spices
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 375 F or 425 F, depending on your preferred doneness. Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel, if desired, and chop or slice into fairly uniform pieces.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet, taking care not to crowd the pieces.
Drizzle or brush the vegetables with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and herbs and or spices if desired.
Roast in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the vegetables reach your desired degree of doneness and caramelization.
Types of Vegetables to Use
It may be hard to find a vegetable that doesn't taste better when roasted, but if you need some guidance or inspiration why not start with some potatoes or sweet potatoes and carrots? Cauliflower and broccoli are also ideal candidates for roasting, as are bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Onions (yellow and purple) and garlic become sweet and more tender, and roasting brings out the best in parsnips, beets, and turnips.
Butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus take on a nutty flavor when roasted, and tomatoes become soft and rich tasting after time in a hot oven. Vegetables you may not think of roasting are green beans, fennel, and mushrooms, all of which take on a nice earthy taste.
If using a combination of different vegetables, pay attention to the texture, density, and water content of each, and separate your veggies accordingly. Dense root vegetables will take much longer to roast than delicate asparagus, so put the roots in the oven first, then add another pan of the quicker-cooking veggies to the oven later.
Juicy vegetables like cherry tomatoes will release liquid while roasting; if they share a pan with dryer veggies, they'll turn everything mushy, so roast them separately and combine near the end of cooking (when they are more dehydrated) or at serving time.
Roasted vegetables are delicious on their own, but it is always nice to offer a bowl of tahini on the side for dipping, adding a bit of protein to the dish.