Crank Up the Heat-Roasting Veggies 101
As much as I hate to see the summer go, one of my favorite things about the fall is the changeover in seasonal foods. Just like the falling leaves, the colors of fall foods are oranges, reds and yellows.… pumpkins, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and apples, to name a few.
So, with the summer heat behind us, it’s time to crank up the heat indoors! Roasting vegetables is an easy way to inject a lot of flavor into your diet and to eat a variety of veggies; the group of foods that the heart-healthy DASH diet strongly encourages.
The high heat of an oven (425˚F) allows the natural, sweet flavors of the veggies to intensify, as their sugars caramelize and allows the liquid inside them to dry out. There are tons of recipes online you can refer to but here are some basics. Cut up your veggies of choice to a uniform size and add to a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of a high smoking point oil- the kind that withstands high heat like sesame, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, or avocado oil- and mix together. Place on a rimmed baking sheet or sheet pan (I like to pre-heat my pan). Season with salt, pepper, Mrs Dash, thyme, rosemary, powdered garlic, etc. Don’t overcrowd the pan-give the veggies enough space to roast and not steam. Half way through, I stir the vegetables around (move the middle ones to the sides and vice versa) and I sprinkle in some dried cranberries. They are done when there’s some charring along their edges and are tender when poked with a fork. Generally, they take 25-45 minutes. Squeeze some orange or lemon juice on top, or sprinkle with chopped nuts or grated cheese when ready to serve.
Roasted vegetables are great when added to a plant-based pasta (like Explore Cuisine’s black bean or Wegman’s red lentil spaghetti) that can contain as much as 24 grams of protein per two-ounce serving. So, they are a good complement to one another. Or add to pizza, scrambled eggs/omelets, baked potatoes, or Poke/Buddha Bowls to increase the fiber and nutrient density of your meal.