i’m grateful for the chill in the air (at least right at this moment) because a) i love fall and winter and b) it means i get to share these roasted vegetables with you.
you see, i actually figured out this magical method last spring (think: late may), by which point it seemed a bit silly to share a recipe that involved a 425° F oven. but, now that the weather is starting to cool and the leaves are starting to change color, i’m back on the roasted vegetable bandwagon.
the thing that i love most about this recipe is that it’s really adaptable. i have yet to try a variation that didn’t work. a mix of veggies + some herbs and/or spices + a little bit of olive oil = veggie magic.
the trick is to cut the vegetables to size based on their density. what i mean by that is if you’re roasting broccoli and carrots together, the broccoli crowns should be big bite sized pieces, since they are relatively light and airy, while the carrots should be cut into relatively thin pieces, since they are so dense and crunchy. as long as i keep that trick in mind, everything cooks just fine.
beyond that, (nearly) anything goes. i like to pick the herbs and spices that i will use based on what i’m going to serve the roasted vegetables with. if i’m serving them with roasted chicken, i might use a mix of rosemary and thyme whereas if they are going to find their way into burrito bowls, then i’ll use cumin seeds and maybe a little bit of chili powder (chipotle powder would also be delicious, if you don’t have chipotle naysayers at your dinner table).
it’s so easy and it works every time and it doesn’t take forever. also, it’s delicious. i think that’s about the highest compliment that we can pay a vegetable recipe, no? especially one that actually stays healthy, rather than calling for 3 pounds of bacon, 2 cups of maple syrup, and a bag of marshmallows. because when i want dessert, i want dessert and when i want vegetables… i want these.
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1 large onion
- 1 pound (16 oz. / 454 g.) carrots (full size or baby)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon chili or chipotle powder, to taste/optional
- preheat the oven to 425° F. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- turn the cauliflower stem side up on your cutting board and use the tip of your knife to sneak in between the florets and cut them off from the thick stem at their natural branching points into bite size pieces. this helps prevent the entire head of cauliflower from dissolving into a big pile of cauliflower confetti the way it would if you just started chopping it the way you might cut an apple. put the pieces in a colander and rinse under cold water; shake off excess moisture.
- cut the onion into ½” (1.25 cm) thick half moon shape pieces. to do this, trim the ends off the onion then cut in half vertically (so from cut end to cut end / with the grain). lay the two cut halves flat side down, then cut in half the other way (across the grain) so the half moons won’t be too long. finally, set the side that you just cut down on the cutting board and cut vertically every ½” (1.25 cm) or so, which will give you little half moon shaped pieces.
- wash and peel the carrots (if they’re not baby carrots). if they are full size carrots, slice them into coins about ¼” – ½” (0.6 – 1.25 cm) thick so that they will cook relatively quickly. if you’re using baby carrots, unless they are very skinny (narrower than your pinky finger), cut them in half lengthwise so that they cook more quickly. (you’ll see in the photos that i didn’t do this… i should have.)
- pile all the vegetables on the lined baking sheet, sprinkle the cumin seeds (and chili/chipotle powder, if using) over the vegetables, and drizzle the oil on top. use your hands to toss everything around and combine it so that all of the vegetables get coated in spices and oil. spread the vegetables out into a single layer.
- cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil (the sheet does not have to be completely sealed – my pan size vs. aluminum foil size is such that i cut a piece long enough to crimp over the short ends of the pan but the long edges have a slight gap between the pan and the foil). bake the covered vegetables for 15 minutes. after 15 minutes, remove the foil (carefully – watch for steam!), use a spatula to toss the vegetables around, and put them back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 more minutes. check them after 10 minutes: they should all be softened appropriately (check by piercing them with the tip of a sharp knife – the carrots should offer no resistance) and beginning to brown. sometimes when i am lazy about chopping, especially the dense carrots, i need to leave the pan in for about 5 more minutes so the vegetables can finish softening.
- serve warm. if you’re not serving the vegetables right away, recover them with the aluminum foil once they are out of the oven to help them stay warm.
for the sake of giving you a starting point, i’ve listed my favorite combination above. really though, swap in whatever vegetables and herbs/spices you like and whatever fits with the rest of what you’re serving. the beauty of this recipe is its adaptability.
roasting lots of vegetables so that you have leftovers is a gift to your future self. leftovers keep really well in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat beautifully in the microwave. keeping a container of these roasted vegetables on hand means that quick lunches and dinners can actually be healthy. whether it’s rotisserie chicken with roasted vegetables, roasted vegetable burrito bowls with bits of what’s left in the crisper and cheese drawer, or (frozen?) pizza with roasted vegetables, dinner is easier and healthier with these guys around.