3-Step Roasted Vegetables
“I don’t like vegetables.”
It’s a phrase I commonly hear which breaks my heart. Yes, I’m emotional about your eating habits.
I’m a firm believer of fueling your body with quality food. I also feel strongly you should love what you eat! So today I’ll first convince you why you should love veggies, and then I’ll show you how to love them.
Vegetables are Good for You
Maybe this comes as a surprise, but mother was right: you should eat your broccoli.
Of all of the diets out there (check out my review on some of the most popular fad diet trends), study after study shows a common denominator between all of them: long-term healthy diets contain lots of vegetables.
Diets high in plants (i.e. vegetables) have been linked to all of the following:
Reduced risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
Improved digestion and less risk of diverticulitis
Improvements in all kinds of labs: lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, to name a few
Lower risk of some types of cancer
Let’s be clear: it’s not just the nutrients in vegetables which are good for you. It’s the actual vegetables themselves. Vitamin, fiber, and phytochemical supplements which claim to replace the goodness of vegetables have never proven themselves equal to eating the real food - even when they say they are made from vegetables.
Nothing is as good as nature made it, my friends!
Healthy Food Should Taste Good
Here’s the deal: almost anyone can go on a restrictive diet which has all kinds of rules. Almost anyone can lose weight doing so. However, as hard as losing weight can be, this is usually the easy part.
The hard part? Keeping that darn weight off.
It’s tough to stay on a diet for the rest of your life if the only food you’re allowed to eat tastes gross. If you enjoy going out to eat or having special foods at holidays it’s nearly impossible to stay on a diet that restricts these options.
To maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life, you either have to come to terms with feeling deprived and hungry - or learn to love good food!
Spoiler alert: I believe whole-heartedly in the latter.
Sound impossible? Don’t worry; even if you’ve never liked a green vegetable in your life, I can help you change that.
Not all Cooking Techniques are Created Equal
If you’ve ever had the (very common) experience of not liking a vegetable, it may not be because of the vegetable itself, but rather how it was cooked.
Don’t take my word for it, just think about what you know about how you like (or dislike) some of these foods:
Would you rather eat stir-fry beef or boiled beef?
Boiled dumplings or pan-fried dumplings?
Boiled chicken or grilled chicken?
There’s no need to understand the chemical processes behind why your choices taste better, but I’ll give you a hint: it’s a little fat + high cooking temperature. Maillard Browning is the fancy, scientific name for this browning effect that occurs when cooking food at high temperatures and exactly what makes your food taste good.
Cooking at high temperatures actually breaks down some of the starches in the vegetables into sugar. While this doesn’t make vegetables tastes sweet, it does help cut the bitterness most of us associate with stinky veggies like broccoli or asparagus.
How to Roast All the Vegetables
Are you convinced? Good. Now let me teach you how to make my most favorite food(s) ever.
Roasting vegetables is a skill every home cook should learn. It’s simple, it’s easy. It’s the most painless way I’ve found to get everyone around the table to eat their veggies (I’m looking at you, Jeremy).
Now you must try - and tell me how it goes! Just three simple steps:
Step 1: Prepare your veggies. Wash ‘em, scrub ‘em, peel ‘em (but only if you must - the peel usually contains the most nutrition!). Then cut ‘em, slice ‘em, or cube ‘em and throw them on a baking sheet. I usually use a couple of 9x13 -inch glass baking dishes.
Step 2: Toss veggies with oil + seasonings. Oil is a flavor carrier. It makes food taste good - and you want to love your veggies, right? You don’t need a lot, but enough so they’re glistening a little and have enough moisture for the seasonings to stick. Pro tip: use your favorite meat seasoning to flavor your veggies. I love taco seasoning on roasted cabbage or steak seasoning on cauliflower. Yum!
Step 3: Roast! Turn your oven up to “hot” - usually somewhere between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit. Heartier veggies take a little longer (carrots, potatoes), while delicate ones a little less time (cabbage, asparagus). Stir veggies half-way through cooking to ensure even browning.
Serve up hot with your favorite entrée. Package leftovers in individual containers for easy meal prep for the days ahead!
See how easy it is? Click here for the PDF of 24 veggies to roast!