1. All About The Flavour
Everyone knows the best roast isn’t about what veggie, but about the flavour, it’s smothered in. Get creative with your spice rack and try a new combination. Curried vegetables with turmeric, curry powder, and chili are a crowd-favourite to accompany any Asian dishes. For a traditional Tuscan taste, try herbs such as thyme and oregano, with a generous helping of garlic. Those potluck Mexican nights? Try glazing your cauliflower with cumin and smoked paprika. Herbs and spices are like a math equation with no right answer; keep trying all the possible combinations until you find your most mouth-watering answer. After a good place to start? Let this Whole Roasted Cauliflower knock your taste buds off.
2. Keep It Local
Where possible, make sure the veggies you’re using are locally grown, seasonal and organic. This will make sure you’re delving into the most nutrient-rich and diverse plate of vitamins and minerals. Our body’s digestive cycles move with the seasons, so they crave different vegetables throughout the months of the year to support natural detoxification and hibernation. Plus, the reward of knowing you’ve supported a local business and kept your food miles to a bare minimum makes the roasties taste extra-sweet. This Roast Kumara and Chickpea Salad with Almond Parmesan is a great base to start substituting those out-of-season vegetables with some local produce.
3. Play Around With Oils
Many of us were taught that the perfect roast is made when it’s tossed in a cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, and in many dishes, this may be true. However, the seasoned roasters know that playing around with the type of oil used to crisp the vegetables will totally change the aromatic outcome of the dish. Coconut is a wonderful oil to use that has an impressive nutritional profile, and a dash of sesame oil can be used for an aromatic, South-East Asian flavour. If dairy is in your diet, try using a little ghee for a rustic take on roasties or opt for a neutral but nutritious flavour with safflower or grapeseed. It’s just as important to make sure you don’t drown the vegetables in oil, both for texture and overall health, and to ensure the oils aren’t exceeding burning temperature, becoming carcinogenic. This Satay Vegetable Curry with Quinoa is a wonderful way to play around with the different flavours of oils.
4. Keep It Uniform
Cutting your vegetables to roughly the same size will ensure they cook evenly and on time. Don’t be pedantic, but do try to make it easy for yourself once the roasties get into the oven. Some veggies can be trickier than others, but learn how to nail it with this Roast Pumpkin and Chili-Garlic Spinach Pasta .
5. Stagger Cooking Times & Trays
Everyone’s found out the hard way that most foods cook in their own time, meaning a zucchini/courgette is far more likely to be reduced to cinders before a chunk of sweet potato. Start with your heavier, starchier veggies, and as you take the pans out of the oven to toss, gradually add the lighter foods so they’re all ready at the same time. It’s also important not to overcrowd the pan, so the roasties caramelize and crisp, rather than steam and stick. If you’re cooking for a crowd, it may be easier to use a couple of different trays - and this way you can sort your cooking times down to the minute! Take guidance with this Prebiotic Tray Bake with Tahini Drizzle .
Roast vegetables are a household staple, but it can be hard to weed out the mouth-watering recipes from the not-so-wonderful. With these few tips and tricks up your apron, see what magic you create.
Have you any favourite ways to jazz up your vegetables?
All the best Jan