By Ali Lopez
MRG Contributor

As athletes (or even just as people), we all could benefit from eating more veggies. In fact, I shared this blog post on how to do this. I often talk about my love for roasted vegetables and how the flavors get sweeter and richer and oh, soooo delicious! I realize that some of you may not share that same love. Maybe you are unsure what roasting vegetables means and how to do it properly. I’m here to change that–to help you learn to love roasted vegetables and all the wonderful ways you can use them for your meals.

Here is the basic recipe, and keep reading for some great tips to help you become a roasting superstar!

Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the vegetables to no more than 2 or 3 baking sheets at a time. This will depend on how many racks you have in your oven.

Drizzle olive oil or avocado oil over the veggies and toss with your hands, coating the veggies, lightly. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper over top. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer, but don’t crowd them.

Depending on the veggies, roast in the oven for about 10 to 20 minutes before tossing with a large spatula, being careful to keep the veggies’ shape. (Asparagus will take less time than carrots, for example. More on this below.) If you are using multiple pans, rotate and switch positions in the oven. Roast for an additional 10 to 20 minutes depending on which vegetables you are roasting. You want them to be fork-tender and have nice dark edges.

Healthy Chef Ali’s Tips for perfectly roasted veggies

All vegetables can be roasted, but their different textures need to be taken into consideration. Some cook quicker than others depending on the type of vegetable as well as the size it is cut. You can mix different vegetables on the same sheet or keep them separate. I only mix vegetables that I know will take the same amount of time to roast. You don’t want to end up with hard carrots and mushy zucchini.

Never crowd vegetables on the tray. Vegetables need room to breathe (roast). If there are too many on the tray they will steam instead of roast. And that is not what you are looking for.

Keep vegetables with more moisture at a minimum. This doesn’t mean don’t add them, but don’t overload your baking sheet with them. (Things like zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms.)  Their moisture can prevent the other vegetables from getting roasted properly. Or better yet, roast them on a separate sheet. 

Chop similar type vegetables all about the same size.  This will help them cook at about the same time. Different densities will affect cooking time as well, (carrots vs. broccoli) but uniform size will help. Try to put longer cooking veggies on the same tray.

Roasting time varies, depending on the size and type of vegetables. Judge doneness by roasting the hardest veggies until at least fork-tender, but then keep going until you get a nice deep color.  Average cooking time will be somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes.

Experiment with what you’ve got in the fridge. I have recently fallen in love with thinly sliced roasted cabbage! They get crispy and are addicting to snack on! 

When using garlic, be sure to keep them whole instead of finely chopping. This will keep the garlic from burning. Burnt garlic is bad.

You can use 2-3 roasting pans at once. If you’re running the oven and roasting anyway, you may as well roast as much as you can and use the veggies through the week.  Just be sure to rotate the pans onto different racks halfway through cooking.

Don’t drown the veggies in oil, but too little oil won’t work either.  You need oil to get things going and prevent burning.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and use your hands to toss and coat each piece. And don’t forget salt and pepper.

Wonderful ways to use all those good veggies.

  • Serve roasted vegetables over sweet potatoes or your favorite grain. Top with a poached or fried egg for a complete meal and a yummy sauce all in one.
  • Top mixed greens with roasted veggies.  Add some cheese, avocado, some nuts and your favorite dressing for a perfect lunch or dinner.
  • Stuff a pita or tortilla with roasted vegetables, greens and some hummus.
  • Make a yummy roasted vegetable soup! Bring some water or vegetable broth to a simmer, add the roasted veggies and either eat as is or create a creamy soup by using an immersion blender.
  • Make an open face veggie sandwich. Top a slice of crusty bread with roasted veggies and your favorite cheese.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Add roasted vegetables to an omelet or frittata, your favorite pasta dish and of course, pizza!

 

Have a fueling question for Ali? Post it below in the comments section or email MRG with your healthy-eating questions at heather [at] michiganrunnergirl [dot] com 

Ali
Ali

Ali Lopez is a northern Michigan runner, chef and health coach. You can learn more about her at her web site Healthy Chef Ali. She’s also on Facebook here »

You can listen to a conversation about running and eating between Ali and Heather on this MRG podcast.

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