For a long time I’ve been trying to perfect roasting vegetables in the oven. My last foray into oven roasting was making balsamic parmesan cauliflower which sounds heavenly but had its challenges as a recipe. So I am always on the lookout for new recipes. I found this one the other day on, and this will not surprise you, Pinterest and thought I would try it. It came from a website called foodservice.com and though it looked great I could tell before making it that it had issues from the get-go. Luckily I’m finally starting to trust my instincts and not take recipes verbatim. I adapted it and it turned out beautifully, but I don’t think it would have the way it was originally written. So I will rate how I made it and then describe lessons learned based on the original recipe. For the burgeoning chef who may not have good gut instincts, like myself, I get a little perturbed when I see recipes that I know simply will not work. I’ll include my adapted recipe for you to print.
Rating A – the way I adapted the recipe produced tender crisp roasted vegetables, always a great accompaniment to any meal. I have to admit the original recipe provided a great trick that I will expound on in lessons learned.
Lesson Learned 1: In this recipe I used zucchini, yellow squash, thick asparagus spears, carrots cut in one inch size rounds and grape tomatoes. The original recipe also called for baby red potatoes and snow peas as well. So now I will get on my high horse for a minute. What I’ve learned over the years is the secret to successfully roasting vegetables starts out with veggies that have similar roasting times. If they don’t you will, and I guarantee it, overcook some and undercook others. Adding potatoes and snow peas to this recipe made absolutely no sense to me. Even baby red potatoes take a longer time to cook than most veggies and snow peas cook in nothing flat. And the original recipe called for roasting the veggies at 425 for 30 minutes covered and then uncovered for 15 minutes. That may well be the correct time allotment for cooking the potatoes, but I think the rest of the vegetables would have been annihilated. In defense of the recipe it does state to shorten the cooking time somewhat if you like your vegetables al dente, but 45 minutes at 425 would have, in my estimation, produced mush. I roasted the vegetables at 400 for 1/2 hour total, 20 minutes covered and ten minutes uncovered. You can see the results at the bottom of the blog. Next time I may even take 5 additional minutes off the cooking time as I like super al dente vegetables.
Lesson Learned 2: When slicing the squash, I cut them into 1 1/2 inch rounds and then cut them on the diameter both ways producing four pieces for each slice. That gave them sufficient “chunkiness” to withstand the cooking time.
Lesson Learned 3: You can see I used a thicker asparagus spear. When you buy asparagus quite often you can find it in various thicknesses. I bought the thickest one I could find so it was of sufficient “chunkiness” (I’m starting to like that word) to withstand the longer cooking time.
Lesson Learned 4: The original recipe called for baby carrots. I only had regular carrots so I took a couple that were about an inch in diameter and cut them into one inch rounds. You don’t want your carrots too big or they will remain hard.
Lessons Learned 5: I also looked for larger rather than smaller grape tomatoes for this recipe. I was most concerned about how the tomatoes would turn out but they were fine, nicely soft but not annihilated and that is ok.
Lesson Learned 6: The original recipe called for about 1/4 cup of EVOO – way too much, especially if you are adapting the recipe using smaller amounts of veggies! You want to make sure that your veggies are evenly coated but you don’t want them swimming in oil. You have to eyeball the EVOO and follow the rule of thumb that you can always add more if you need it. As long as they all have a nice shimmer of oil they will be fine and roast beautifully.
Lesson Learned 7: There is very little “exacting” to this recipe. I made this for my husband and myself and added amounts that I felt were appropriate for 2 people (and it could have probably served 3). I only cut up two rounds each of the squash, used 4 asparagus spears about 6 plum tomatoes and I think I was a little heavy handed on the carrots. There are no right or wrong amounts here. The key is to cut the veggies into sizes that will stand up nicely to the cooking time.
Lesson Learned 8: What I liked about the original recipe is the inclusion of steak seasoning. I never thought about using that on vegetables. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning and it really gave the vegetables depth of flavor. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised.
Lesson Learned 9: The recipe calls for dried rosemary, and even states that you might want to add more of it than the basil. I’m not a big fan of dried rosemary unless you really crush it. I’ve found that if you don’t you get these tasteless rosemary spears in your teeth. But you can certainly add your desired amount to the recipe below.
I would have rated the original recipe an “F” as I felt, as written, it would have been a failure. The ingredients were not well matched and the cooking time was outrageous. These types of recipes always get my goat since someone, like me, who is not an intuitive cook finds it sets you up for failure – and when you are learning in the kitchen you want easy successes to build your confidence. So, I am sharing my adaptation of the recipe. If you want to check out the original just go to the website I listed above and search for oven roasted vegetables. Good luck with that one. If you get it to work as written, let me know. I would like to hear how you accomplished that.
Oven Roasted Vegetables
Carrots cut in one inch rounds or baby carrots
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In this recipe you will need to use amounts based on the number of servings you want. Cut the squash into 1 1/2 rounds and then into quarters. If you don’t use baby carrots, use carrots an inch in diameter and cut into one inch rounds. Make sure to snap the bottom of the asparagus to remove the woody part. If the remaining spear is large, cut it in half. If not, keep the spear whole.
Evenly coat the veggies with olive oil and add the herbs and steak seasoning so that the veggies are evenly covered and toss. Place in a deep casserole dish and sprinkle with garlic salt. Roast covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and roast uncovered for the remaining 10 minutes. Enjoy!