Turning fresh fall veggies into fabulous favorites can happen with roasting, a simple cooking technique. Roasting allows vegetables or other foods to develop a crispy crust on the outside while creating a subtle sweetness. This is due to the magic of caramelization.
Caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning reaction. During this reaction, volatile chemicals are released, water is removed, and sugars break down, transforming the food to a brownish color with a nutty-sweet flavor. Roasting, along with baking, is a dry heat cooking method, but while we often use these two terms interchangeably, there are a few differences. Roasting generally refers to cooking at higher temperatures, and it involves foods that already have a solid structure, such as meats or vegetables. Baking, on the other hand, refers to cooking at lower temperatures and involves food that lack structure in the beginning, such as bread dough.
Root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, turnips and potatoes are delicious roasted. Simply toss with olive oil and season with herbs, turning every so often while roasting. Roasting is a healthy cooking technique. Liquid oils used for coating vegetables are healthy fats that may decrease blood cholesterol. If roasting meat, place a rack inside the roasting pan so that the fat can drip away from the food. If you’ve sworn off certain vegetables because you weren’t fond of the taste, try them roasted; you’ll be surprised at the difference in flavor!
Roasted Potatoes with Carrots and Green Beans (Printable PDF)
1 lb. red potatoes, quartered
1 lb. medium carrots, cut into 2-inch strips, thicker portions halved
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 oz. fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, carrots, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes in oven. Toss green beans in bowl with minced garlic and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Spread onto baking sheet with other vegetables and place back in oven to roast until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer.
Yield: 5 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 8 grams fat, 150 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein