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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

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 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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  • 299
    I love your idea of mixing the veggies and cutting them into similar sized pieces. I've been roasting them one type at a time but I LOVE this idea and now have a plan for tomorrow, Friday, night. Smile. - 7/28/2011   10:19:00 AM
    Roasted cauliflower is one of my favourites, never thought of roasting radishes can't wait to try them. - 7/27/2011   11:28:56 PM
  • SKYMOM25
    thanks for the recipe! - 7/27/2011   8:48:19 PM
  • 296
    You make them sound good. It's worth a try! - 7/27/2011   7:18:29 PM
  • KIRNY1
    I got to tell you! I don't see many guys on this site but I sure am going to give this roasting a try. Sounds very interesting! If it will only help me drop about 80 to 90 lbs. - 7/27/2011   6:34:20 PM
  • 294
    I love roasted eggplant. Now I'm excited to try the radishes and kohlrabi...I never even thought about roasting those. I'm picking some up at the grocery store today! - 6/26/2011   9:35:34 AM
  • 293
    I love roasted vegetables. I put them in a zip bag to coat with oil and seasoning. I season with Greek Seasoning . Try coating Cauliflower with lite mayo and a little Olive Oil. Just enough to coat . Season however you like. Again I like Greek Seasoning for this. I like for my cooked vegetables to be a little firm. - 6/19/2011   1:50:33 AM
  • 292
    It's surprising how good vegetables are this way... even cauliflower. Only way I eat them. - 6/17/2011   1:05:17 PM
    so going to try this soon...& thanks HEALTHYKB2010 for the tip about using the concord original roasted potato seasoning on the veggies...i always have that on hand for making the roasted potatoes so i will be sure to try that - 6/13/2011   11:41:12 PM
  • 290
    Yummy! I will have to try this. - 5/23/2011   6:08:06 PM
  • DJPG50
    I love roasted veggies! It is the best way that I get my veggies! - 5/23/2011   3:42:39 PM
  • 288
    I'm suddenly craving roasted zucchini, yellow squash, and brussels sprouts - 5/12/2011   2:55:09 PM
  • 287
    The only way I can eat sweet potatoes is baked in a pie (tastes like pumpkin pie!) I've tried them baked, mashed with marshmallow topping and french fried, but I've never roasted them. I will be trying that tomorrow for dinner!! - 5/11/2011   10:41:54 PM
  • 286
    PS I've never had a cooked kohlrabi... grew up eating them sliced raw!! I didn't realize they could be cooked. We chop them finely and add to salads for crunch, too... that is, if any are left from the sliced snack ones. - 4/3/2011   10:07:26 PM
  • 285
    I could use help with the herbs and spices bit... would like to try roasted carrots, but can't handle spicy or garlicky things. What mild spices would enhance carrots?

    I generally steam broccoli and cauliflower. I adore tarragon vinegar, so appreciate that suggestion. I can't imagine roasting brussel sprouts; love 'em steamed. Hope you don't mind -- I printed this blog for my daughter, a terrific cook. My grandkids like numerous veggies (my granddaughter, 2, picks peas out of everything just like I do, lol), but my daughter is always looking for new ways to cook. I love carrots but they take so long to cook to a tenderness I can eat. The grands and my son-in-law hate carrots, so I think DD might like to try this technique. I'll have to experiment; I have never tried broiling with my oven. I am a lousy cook and loathe cooking, but this seems manageable for me. Thanks for a terrific blog! - 4/3/2011   10:03:50 PM
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    @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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    @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
    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
    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
    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

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