Nutritious, Delicious Roasted Veggies

How many vegetables do you eat each day? I bet it isn’t the daily recommended amount of 2 1/2 cups.  And no – your giant bowl of iceberg lettuce for your salad doesn’t count! City girls often have busy schedules and eat on the run. With the exception of an occasional salad or the 3 asparagus spears that might accompany your grilled tuna entree in a restaurant, our diets are lacking in vegetables. Even if you cook dinner or “assemble”  dinner as many of us do in NYC (assemble = picking up roast chicken, rice and vegetable at Zabars or Citarellas!), it is still unlikely that we’ll meet the recommendation for vegetable intake.

Try roasting vegetables to increase your vegetable intake
I’ve had many clients ask me how to cook vegetables in a way other than steaming and adding a little olive oil or butter spray. Since I am not the most creative cook in the world, I often recommend roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables is an easy way to prepare vegetables. They taste good, provide variety and increase your nutritional intake.  You can keep them for several days and have leftovers.  In the colder weather, roasted vegetables can help you satisfy the urge for something filling and hot (as opposed to salads which are not as appealing to many people in the colder weather). Roasting your own veggies versus buying prepared roasted or grilled vegetables is a better idea as you can control the amount of oil that is used in preparation. I’ve had frequently ordered grilled veggies at a restaurant or gourmet store that have been dripping with oil.

The following tips were taken from an article on roasted vegetables from Web MD 

How to Cook Roasted Vegetables
Here are the four basic vegetable roasting steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil, and coat the foil with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Cut your vegetables into small chunks or hearty bite-sized pieces.

2. Add vegetables in a single layer to the foil-lined pan and spray the top with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of canola or olive oil (use no more than a teaspoon of oil for every cup of vegetables). If you use oil, toss the veggies about on the pan to coat as much of them with oil as possible.

3. Sprinkle on any desired seasonings, such as rosemary or basil, parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper. Coat the tops of your veggies again with canola or olive oil cooking spray, if desired, especially if you didn’t drizzle with oil in Step 2.

4. Bake until veggies are lightly browned in areas, and tender. If your vegetables look like they are starting to dry out during the roasting period, drizzle some broth, apple juice, or low-fat Italian dressing or vinaigrette over the top. Different vegetables require different cooking times. Check your roasted vegetables after 25-30 minutes (this is probably the halfway point), turn them over with a spatula, then cook until they’re tender and nicely browned around some of the edges (about 25-30 minutes more.)
 

How Long Should I Cook Roasted Vegetables?
Keep in mind that these lighter density vegetables have the fastest cooking times:
Tomatoes
Summer squash
Eggplant
These can take as little as 20 minutes to roast at 350-375 degrees. But if you’re baking them in a 400-degree oven along with medium and high density vegetables, just cut them in larger, thicker pieces and they will handle the higher temp and longer cooking time just fine.

These medium-density vegetables take a bit longer to cook:
Onions
Peppers
Winter squash

These higher density vegetables, meanwhile, have the longest cooking times:
Potatoes
Carrots
Beets
Pumpkins
Medium- and high-density vegetables tend to roast better at 400 degrees and can take up to 60 minutes to cook.

Other veggies that taste great roasted include mushrooms, fennel and asparagus. Enjoy!

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