The Best Way To Roast Root Vegetables

Make the most of these seasonal veggies with the right technique.

November 21, 2016
roasted root vegetables
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Sigh—it’s that time of year again, where 75% of what you’ll find at the farmers' market consists of root vegetables. (The other 25% is all onions and cabbage. Yum.)

Unlike the cherry tomatoes and bunches of spinach you ate all summer, prepping root veggies for dinner isn’t quite as simple as rinsing, chopping, and tossing them into a salad. Nope, these veggies call for a little bit more work—what with their knobby skins and impossible-to-eat-raw flesh.

Don’t worry, though. The extra effort that goes into preparing them is well worth it. Especially when they’re roasted. Hanging out in a hot oven with some olive oil and salt turns rough, knotty root vegetables into sweet, velvety bites of deliciousness. And the entire process is actually pretty easy. From acorn squash, to celeriac, to turnips, here’s the simple way to roast any root vegetables you have on hand. 

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

root vegetables
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1. Gather Your Ingredients

The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make practically any root vegetable—or a combination of them—taste great. So pick a mix of your favorites and grab some olive oil and salt. Different-colored root veggies—like the parsnips and kabocha squash seen here—make for a pretty presentation.

Related: 10 Key Tips For Growing Squash

chopped root vegetables
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2. Chop Your Veggies

All types of root vegetables will cook at about the same rate, as long as you chop them into similar-sized pieces. (No need to bust out the ruler, though. Eyeballing is fine!) This will ensure that all of the veggies on your tray are cooked to perfection. No tiny burnt pieces and huge, overcooked chunks here.

What about the skins? You can peel your root vegetables before you chop them (here’s the easy, safe way to do it), but you don’t have to.  In fact, you’re better off skipping that annoying step. The skins are perfectly edible (just be sure to choose organic veggies whenever you can), not to mention a great source of extra fiber. And they’ll soften right up in the oven. 

Related: 5 Quick Ways To Cook Winter Squash

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roasting root vegetables
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3. Transfer To A Baking Sheet

Give everyone some space on the pan. Piling the vegetables on top of each other causes them to steam, leaving you with a bland, waterlogged mess. But keeping the veggies spread out makes sure each piece gets caramelized and crispy.

Then, drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and a big pinch of salt. For a baking sheet’s worth of vegetables, you’ll want about two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon of salt. Now’s also a good time to add any other flavorings, if you want to get fancy. A sprinkle of fresh or dried thyme or sage lends a nice savory flavor. But you could also add a drizzle of maple syrup, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or even a drop of toasted sesame oil.

Once you’ve got all your ingredients in the pan, get in there with your hands and toss everything up. Make sure all of your veggies are evenly coated in the oil.

roasted root vegetables
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4. Bake Until Golden

Stick the root veggies in a 425-degree oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through. Smaller pieces will cook in less time, while larger pieces might take a little bit longer. You’ll know the veggies are done when they’re golden and caramelized, and you can easily pierce them with a fork.

Now, go ahead and dig in.

Related: Roast Heritage Turkey With Root Vegetable Stuffing