Roasting vegetables is one of the easiest ways to cook vegetables, and is really one of the healthiest ways too. Besides being easy and healthy, it is also a very versatile way of cooking vegetables and the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is to cut the vegetables how you want them (try to make sure they are all cut about the same size so they cook evenly. Cut heartier vegetables smaller and lighter vegetables slightly larger when roasting different kinds of vegetables together), then toss them in some kind of fat and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in a hot oven to cook. Make sure you give the vegetables plenty of room and spread them out into a single layer on the pan to ensure even cooking for all the vegetables. Because vegetables contain little or no fat, they need to be coated in some kind of fat so they do not burn or stick to the baking dish. I use olive oil for everything, and prefer using it to butter for coating my vegetables. I love butter, don’t get me wrong, and I use a lot of butter too, but believe it or not, I actually use way more olive oil than I do butter, especially for my vegetables. Aside from coating the vegetables in fat, you also want to make sure you use plenty of seasonings and flavors when roasting vegetables as well. One of the reasons why roasting vegetables makes them so good is because roasting concentrates the flavors, “making the vegetables taste like better versions of themselves” (p. 443 – All About Roasting – A New Approach to a Classic Art, by Molly Stevens). The dry heat of the oven allows the sugars in the vegetables to caramelize, giving them a slightly sweet flavor with a slight crunchiness that comes from the browning of the edges of the vegetables. The result from roasting vegetables is the perfect combination of sweetness and crunchiness to make them absolutely delectable. This sweet and crunchy combination also allows for big bold flavors to really bring out the best in all the vegetables, so using a bold vinaigrette, or a bold cheese or even something salty or citrusy, will really enhance all the natural flavors of the vegetables. When roasting vegetables, you want the oven to be hot. Most recipes will call for an oven over 400* F. Since we most often serve roasted vegetables as a side dish to a roasted meat, and we often cook them together, reduce the oven temperature to the temperature of the meat, and just cook the vegetables a little longer than you normally would when cooking them on their own. Most meats do not require as high of a cooking temperature as vegetables. You can roast fruits the same way you roast vegetables, only be aware that fruits have much higher sugar contents and therefore they will caramelize pretty quickly, and if not watched carefully, they could burn very easily. So with all these useful tips for roasting vegetables, use you imagination and let the roasting begin.
Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
2 shallots, sliced thin
1 cup mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
1 TBSP garlic
2 TBSP pine nuts
olive oil to coat
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp thyme
your choice of red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, diced (optional)
Parmagiano cheese for topping
Preheat the oven to 425* F or 400* F if using a convection oven.
Toss everything together and spread out in a single layer onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Place into the hot oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened the middles and have a little crust and are browned around the edges. When the vegetables are done, sprinkle Parmagiano cheese on top and serve.