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Milly’s Five Top Tips for Perfectly Roasted Vegetables

Ask just about anyone about how they ‘do’ their vegetables and nine times out of ten you’ll get the same answer: boil, steam or microwave. Defintely nothing wrong with any of these methods but we’d like to add roasting to the mix.
As Kiwis, we’re all familiar with the Sunday faves of potatoes, kumara and pumpkin (with my favourite, parsnip too) but other vegetables also love a good blast of hot dry heat. Carrots, beetroot, beans, zucchini, the list goes on! Flavours are intensified, texture becomes soft and meltingly sweet – and that’s that (with oil and salt and pepper). Add herbs, spices, ginger, garlic, chilli and a whole world of possibilties opens up.
Consider sweet spices like cinnamon and cardamom combined with cumin and coriander for a Middle Eastern twist. Garlic and ginger with black mustard seeds, tumeric and chilli for an Indian mix; oregano, paprika, garlic, cumin and chilli for full on Mexican – the world is literally your oyster. Here are our top tips for roasted perfection.

1. Turn up the Heat
Roasted vegetables are at their best when perfectly caramelised to make the most of their natural sugars and flavours. To achieve the perfect caramelisation you need a higher (than you’d think) temperature, so pre-heat your oven to 220C to really get things going.


2. Prep now for tastier results
Take the time to slice all your vegetables to sizes that will roast at about the same time – potatoes and other root vegetables into smaller pieces and zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, etc into larger. Or, consider investing in a number of sheet pans so that you can do vegetable specific batches which allows you to control the ‘doneness’ of each vegetable and then combine them at the end. This not only means you can reduce your cooking time (by slicing slow cooking vegetables ie. Kumara and Potato in to smaller pieces) but also means there is more opportunity for deliciously crunchy & roasted goodness. With smaller pieces you have more surface area giving you all that additional roasted goodness.


3. Don’t over oil
You want a nice even coverage of oil on your vegetables, either drizzle your oil directly over your pan and then shake it out for even coverage or toss them around in a bowl before-hand (this is also a perfect time for seasoning). You can use any oil you prefer when roasting but you want to avoid anything with a low-smoking point like Olive Oil.


4. One pan to roast them all
The trick to roasting all your vegetables together, to save on dishes and have everything ready to serve, is adding them at the right time. You will also need a large enough pan to allow for all your vegetables to roast with room between them, so you’re not trapping any moisture.


Once you have prepped your vegetables and pre-heated your oven, start cooking the vegetables with a longer cooking time: potatoes, kumara, pumpkin and other root vegetables and onions. Then after 20mins or so add the shorter cooking time vegetables which include caulifower, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, beans etc.


5. Look but don’t touch 
Keep an eye for signs of browning through your oven door but resist the urge to open and check unless you absolutely need to. You’ve pre-heated your oven perfectly so keep the heat for your cooking. When you add the quicker cooking vegetables at around 20mins, just toss and turn your others to keep them evenly roasting and coated in your oils.