The SparkPeople Blog

The Magical Cooking Technique That Will Get You to Eat Your Veggies

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/11/2008 4:00 PM   :  334 comments

Recently, I asked you which healthy food you'd like to learn to eat. The responses were diverse and plentiful.

Aside from liver, vegetables were the most common response: from tomatoes to celery, eggplant to green peppers.

While I have blog posts planned for specific vegetables, I wanted to share with you a magic trick I learned a few years ago.

You think you hate vegetables? This foolproof and rather quick cooking technique will have you gobbling up those loathed vegetables and begging for seconds.

So what's the secret?

Roasting!

Roasting concentrates the natural sugars in vegetables and caramelizes the outside, giving those humble vegetables a sweet, rich flavor, a crispy coating and a soft interior.

The technique is simple.

  1. Empty out your crisper.
    One recent night, I roasted:
    2 handfuls of radishes
    2 carrots
    1 large turnip
    1 large potato
    1 zucchini
    1/2 an onion
    Those first three vegetables are on my boyfriend's will-not-eat list, and radishes and turnips aren't high on my list of favorite vegetables, either.
     
  2. Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. (I like to make them bite size, but you can leave them larger.)
     
  3. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Cover the pan with foil for easy clean up.)
     
  4. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper and dried herbs (dried rosemary, thyme and oregano are good; so is cumin), then drizzle on some olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons).
     
  5. Put them in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then placed them under the broiler for another 5 minutes or so (keep a close eye on the broiler so your vegetables don't burn).

Result: My boyfriend and I ate every last piece of vegetable, with zero complaints. Seriously. He ate carrots. All of them.

Roasted vegetables are magical. Picky children, persnickety husbands and particular friends can't resist them.

And if all else fails, serve them with ketchup! (Just kidding!)

More tips:
  • Coat vegetables in your favorite vinaigrette or sprinkle on a flavored vinegar before baking. I like tarragon vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or lemon juice are good, too.
  • To more evenly coat your vegetables, place vegetables in a bowl and then drizzle on dressing, or herbs and oil. Mix well with your hands.
  • Almost any vegetable works: Onions, peppers, garlic, squash, zucchini, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celery, fennel, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, kohlrabi, mushrooms, okra (leave them whole so they don't get gummy), pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, radishes… you're only limited by your imagination.
  • Bitter or pungent vegetables such as radishes or turnips become sweet and mild when roasted.
  • Make sure vegetables are roughly the same size so they cook at the same time.
  • Leave peels on vegetables for added nutrition.
  • Mash vegetables after roasting (add a bit of skim milk or fat-free broth to thin) for a jazzed-up, flavor-packed substitute for mashed potatoes.

Find more recipes for roasted vegetables here.

Have a recipe for roasted vegetables? Share it below?

Photo of acorn squash taken by me


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Comments

  • 284
    If you think you can't stand parsnips or eggplant, try 'em roasted. Oh my, the difference! - 3/5/2011   3:42:13 AM
  • 283
    I love roasted vegetables but have never done them myself. Thank you so very much for the directions on how to do it. I can't wait to get to the store and get me a bunch of veggies to roast! - 3/1/2011   3:51:19 PM
  • RMSLIL
    282
    This is a nightly thing around here. Cauliflower is great, I never liked it before. - 2/21/2011   11:02:37 PM
  • 281
    I always roast double the amount of veggies I'll need for a meal: the second half I use for a 'creamy' vegetable soup. Reheat them in a cup or two of low-salt vegetable broth or chicken stock and add herbs or spices of your choice (I sometimes throw in a herb mixture, with rosemary, thyme, parsley - or curry spice). Then use a hand-blender or food processor to mix everything to a smooth consistency. If it's too thick, add a bit more stock. The roasted vegetables add a real flavor dimension to soup! - 1/20/2011   6:05:13 AM
  • 280
    roasting brussell sprouts is the best thing in the world. I love to add a bunch of garlic cloves and some sliced onion, olive oil, and thyme or rosemary. - 1/17/2011   11:45:17 PM
  • 279
    Sounds delicious! I love vegetables, but I have never roasted them. I will definitely try this! Thanks! - 1/16/2011   10:16:08 PM
  • MARLYF1
    278
    I absolutely love roasted veggies! I used this technique once a couple of months ago, and I've even gotten my 15 year old brother (who prefers fries to broccoli any day) to love them. - 1/10/2011   9:21:49 PM
  • 277
    Sounds wonderful! I will definately do this! Maybe my hubby will actually like it too;) - 1/7/2011   1:07:10 AM
  • 276
    I like veggies, but have not tried roasting them lately. Thanks for the idea. And like Bikerchick1450, I never considered radishes. - 1/6/2011   11:14:29 AM
  • GBHOTMAMMA
    275
    @navygirl tam:
    for fruits: simmer them in a little juice and brown sugar for multigrain waffle topping, throw them and some low carb high protein yogurt in a morning shake with a handful of spinach added, bake them into breads or muffins - 12/7/2010   1:10:24 AM
  • GBHOTMAMMA
    274
    I roast my veggies all the time! My favorite is definitely sweet potatoes, I would really like to try beets. My least favorite remains brussel sprouts. Turns out I really don't like them after all :) - 12/7/2010   1:03:39 AM
  • MISSTWIZTIDTEA
    273
    Mmm mmm mmm! I love roasted veggies! I use my rotisserie and the basket, always makes a good addition to a meal! - 10/28/2010   1:06:11 PM
  • 272
    sounds great - 6/11/2010   7:49:18 AM
  • 271
    Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try roasting! - 6/10/2010   1:24:32 PM
  • 270
    Yep. love roasting. - 4/15/2010   7:02:07 PM
  • 269
    I love butternut squash roasted. I slice them, rub olive oil on them, salt and pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper. Wonderful - 3/27/2010   1:32:42 PM
  • 268
    For the last potluck at my boss' house, I made oven roasted carrots just using a little oil, salt, and pepper. People were raving about them, and we actually ran out. When I told them how to make them, nobody believed me. Chalk one up to healthy eating! - 3/26/2010   5:36:38 PM
  • 267
    Roasted veggies...yes! I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but roasted beets are amazing, just like candy. I often pan-roast them: I toss them with a little bit of olive oil and put them in a cast-iron skillet on low heat (around 3 on my electric stovetop). I go back every 15 minutes or so and stir them and, when they're done, I sprinkle on a little sea salt. They're so good, it's hard to keep from eating them right out of the pan! - 3/26/2010   10:51:33 AM
  • TRAILMTNGRANNY
    266
    Oh, and as an added note: if you have any left overs why not start a great soup. - 3/24/2010   11:35:55 AM
  • TRAILMTNGRANNY
    265
    What a great ideal. I',m off to the store to buy a basket load of veggies. Can hardly wait for dinner!! Thanks, D - 3/24/2010   11:35:17 AM
  • 264
    Roast away they are the best. I sprinkle on olive oil and stir them around to very lightly coat. I have been using really large onions recently and i always leave them fairly large and pre cook them in the microwave. That way they caramelise even better, they get quite brown and tender OH so good. Even do a big batch and add them to cabbage and apple pieces. Cabbage is also precooked in microwave but we love the mix. I like a little balsamic vinegar on mine DH likes lots of Pepper. - 3/23/2010   9:11:40 PM
  • NAVYGIRLTAM
    263
    This is why I LOVE SP!!! I honestly never would have thought to roast my veggies. NEVER!!! But, I'll have to do this.

    Anyone have ideas for what to do with about to spoil fruit? Besides freeze it?? - 3/23/2010   4:23:33 PM
  • MUCHMOREMAMA
    262
    @TeenyTinyPip- most ovens have a "broil" setting.. it switches to a heat source from the top so whatever you are cooking gets a crispy top... but the heat goes way up so you have to watch it.. like, it could be burnt in minutes depending on what it is and the oven you use. - 3/23/2010   2:49:02 PM
  • 261
    I rarely roast my vegetables but after reading this I am going to do just that. My husband needs a push when it comes to vegetables. I love them anyway I can get them. - 3/23/2010   1:41:09 PM
  • 260
    i like the roasted veggies too. sometimes i am not too sure which spices i should use...i need to use less because it gets salty...but i like squash with red potatoes roasted. - 3/23/2010   1:34:52 PM
  • TEENYTINYPIP
    259
    I don't mean to sound dim, but what is a broiler? - 3/23/2010   12:53:01 PM
  • 258
    I roast veggies a lot but never thought to do radish! I typically just eat them raw by the bushels. I love them. My husband will only eat raw veggies so I guess I can't really complain but I think I might try roasting some different kinds and get my kids involved Friday night. Thanks! - 3/10/2010   2:39:23 PM
  • NUTRITIONALL
    257
    I agree. Try roasted asparagus. They are amazing with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some kosher salt. Another combo is eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and red onion with some balsamic vinaigrette. Awesome in a wrap. - 3/9/2010   9:51:21 AM
  • 256
    can't wait to try this!!!!! - 3/9/2010   9:45:33 AM
  • 255
    OH MY GOSH! My daughter and I are actually LOVING this. We are eating turnips, zucchini ... I would have NEVER eaten these any other way! - 3/7/2010   8:47:18 PM
  • SHELLY8AND8
    254
    I absolutely loved this idea!! I will definately try this with all the veggies I dont get to raw!! - 3/6/2010   10:16:09 PM
  • 253
    I roast a whole head of cauliflower and my two boys (ages 9 and 10) and I fight over the last piece. - 3/6/2010   5:13:10 AM
  • 252
    gr8 idea never tried roasted veggie. but sounds like my kids will like it. - 3/5/2010   11:09:16 PM
  • 251
    Roasted vegetables are awesome! Thanks for the reminder. - 3/5/2010   8:51:22 PM
  • 250
    Joy, do the brussel sprouts they're great. Never thought I'd like sprouts, but roasting makes them taste so good! - 3/5/2010   7:26:48 PM
  • 249
    I have tried this with cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. Plan on trying it with brussel sprouts - just working up to it! - 3/5/2010   6:33:21 PM
  • 248
    I loved this blog! Thank you!

    Yes, I have to agree that roasting with a bit of olive oil and herbs and spices really does something special to veggies.... In fact, you've just given me a tremendous craving for roasted veggies!

    I just love roast peppers with fresh garlic and olive oil. I also like to pour my roasted veggies over 1 cup of pasta.

    I've saved this blog to my SparkFavorites! Thanks! - 3/5/2010   3:28:03 PM
  • 247
    Great idea, especially the clean out your crisper part. I will definitely make this a weekly ritual. - 3/5/2010   3:12:17 PM
  • 246
    I have been doing this but I have a grill on the stove and it grills them I will try this too! Roasted vegys rock! - 3/5/2010   2:00:39 PM
  • 245
    Wow, this maybe a way I can actually get veggies in me. It seems too easy but I am definitely going to try tonight. - 3/5/2010   1:55:14 PM
  • FRUGALFOODIE
    244
    As you can tell by my login name, I don't like to waste anything. Agree with the people who say clean out the veggie bin or get discounted veggies with slight surface blemishes and roasting makes them fab again. One trick that I do to get the whole tray of various veggies to cook at the same rate, lightly steam more dense veggies (radish, turnip, etc.) in the microwave before you add to the mix to be coated with oil. If you are finding broccoli a little tough, just give it a light steam (I put a damp paper towel over the cut broccoli in a bowl then zap for a minute - but I have a low wattage microwave). I don't like to broil them, can't seem to remember things under a broiler, just cook for a bit longer at the high temp. Roasted Kale leaves cut into chunks makes a great crunchy snack! Another trick I use for glazing roasted veggies is to put seasoned vegetables into a casserole dish, place a small amount of water in the bottom with a touch of honey or apple jelly (I have a garlic jelly I use - good way to use up those pepper jams people give you for gifts) cover tightly with foil and bake at 450F for 10-15 min. to steam the veggies (time will depend on the size and veggies you choose - just pierce with a fork to test). Take off the foil, mix the veggies up and allow to cook in the hot oven until these brown and look glazed. Get's non-veggie eaters to gobble up but I like roasting better because flavors are more concentrated and nutty and the texture isn't as soft.
    Food and Wine Feb. 2010 issue has a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Sesame Spread that is good. I made it to use up some cauliflower that had brown spots on the surface. - 3/5/2010   12:00:53 PM
  • 243
    How many minutes would you roast the vegetables for? This is a great idea! - 3/5/2010   10:52:41 AM
  • HEALTHYKB2010
    242
    I have been roasting vegetables for about 10 years and always do a different mix but I too have never tried turnips or radishes. I will be certain to try these. I buy satchets of original roasted potato seasoning in the vegetable section of the grocery store, from Concord. They also do smoothies, guacamole and salsa seasonings. Anyway I just sprinkle about 2 teaspoons into 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a cup to which I add salt, pepper, Mrs Dash Table Blend, thyme and any other herb that takes my fancy. Mix it up and drizzle it over the vegetables. Toss well to coat evenly and roast in a hot 400 to 425 degree F oven. I like mine a little browned. Sometimes if the pan is too low the bottom of the veggies get over browned. I don't mind them like that, but others may complain. Delicious. - 3/4/2010   11:47:17 AM
  • IFIFELL
    241
    Just tried this and it was delicious... except for all the stuff I burned. The carrots came out especially good. The onions burned. I need to set up a remote camera when I'm carmelizing. I get bored watching veggies broil even though it's only a few minutes. Hmmm.... maybe I could do some pushups in the kitchen. - 3/3/2010   12:30:06 AM
  • THINMAMAWARD
    240
    I roast almost everything, my hubby not a big aspargus or zucchini fan but he has become a roasted apargus and zucchini Man. - 3/2/2010   12:42:19 PM
  • 239
    Whohoo I guessed right!!! (I was guessing possible ways to make vegetables palatable before I scrolled down!) I love roasted veggies, especially carrots and sweet potatoes. My sister is a big fan of roasted broccoli. Totally yummy! - 3/2/2010   12:54:50 AM
  • 238
    Waiting for the oven buzzer to sound to enjoy my roasted veggies, as I type... Yummy! - 3/1/2010   5:48:40 PM
  • 237
    Mmmm... I did this the first time I tried brussels sprouts. I love them! I just tore off the "ugly" leaves, sliced off the stalk, and quartered 'em. Tossed a bit in some EVOO and sea salt and had a delicious veggie with dinner. Lucky for me, no one else in my house likes them so I got them all to myself! - 2/3/2010   12:54:39 PM
  • 236
    Great idea! Looking forward to trying a little curry on my veggies - 2/2/2010   12:08:24 PM
  • 235
    hmmm... what if you don't like the texture? Love steamed broccoli... and corn... but the rest... I have a texture problem. I'll give it a shot though. =D - 2/2/2010   1:30:16 AM

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