food prep

Perfect Roasted Vegetables + 5 Ways to Use Them

roasted vegetables on serving platter

Can we stop and admire the beauty that is roasted vegetables for a minute?

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that roasting is the no-fail way to prepare just about any vegetable on the planet. This used to be a secret, but I feel like roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are now (dare I say) mainstream.

This roasted blend has become such a staple in my house over the years that I allllllmost forget that there’s actually a technique involved. And in addition to just sharing the recipe, the really cool thing about these is they they can be repurposed in many different ways to keep things interesting without a whole lot of added effort. It’s basically one of those “cook once, eat three times” situations.

But first, let’s talk about how to make the perfect roasted vegetables.

ingredients for perfect roasted vegetables

Here are the vegetables that I chose for this batch, although keep in mind that this is totally customizable. I try to make sure I have a variety of color avoid anything super delicate like zucchini or summer squash (which could just sort of melt away in the heat).

If you plan on adding all of these to one sheet pan, it’s important to keep cook times in mind. Chop the hardiest vegetables in smaller pieces, and the quicker-cooking ones in slightly larger pieces. Something to note with Brussels sprouts - some will be bigger than others. I halved them if they were on the smaller side and quartered them if they were on the larger side.

chopped brussels sprouts
chopped parsnips
chopped sweet potatoes
button mushrooms without stems
chopped red bell peppers

You have many options with the onions (slice into rings, chop into large chunks) but if you want to try to replicate the shape below, halve it down the middle of the root end, then slice each half into 3-4 wedges leaving the root intact. I like doing it this way because it looks pretty and doesn’t tend to separate like it will if you chop it smaller.

chopped vegetables lined up
sheet pan of roasted vegetables

A few more tips for the perfect roast:

  • If you only have smaller sheet pans, you’ll want to divide this mixture into two batches to prevent overcrowding and steaming of the vegetables. Decrease the amount of vegetables you use if you only have time for one batch.

  • Avoid messing with your vegetables too much while they are in the oven. If you want that nice browned edge, they need to hangout in one spot for awhile. Stir just once about two-thirds of the way through your cook time.

  • Use a high-heat, neutral cooking oil like grapeseed.

perfect roasted vegetables

Of course the classic way to use roasted vegetables is in the form of a side dish and since this blend has both the starchy and non-starchy covered, all you really need is a protein and dinner is served. I also love that so much of the time involved is hands-off, so you can move on to something else while you wait for them to cook.

There are also several ways to repurpose these so you aren’t eating the same dinner multiple nights in a row. Here are a few of my go-to options:

  1. Chop up the vegetables into small pieces and use them in a quiche (yum)

  2. Layer them on a bed of arugula, add your favorite cheese, beans and mustardy dressing for a really delicious salad (love that this one has cauliflower)

  3. Use them on flatbread or pizza; finish with basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze

  4. Toss the vegetables with orzo, olives and goat cheese for a tasty pasta side dish

  5. Top them with a runny egg, diced avocado and hot sauce for a weekend brunch (or week night “breakfast for dinner”)

No matter how you serve these, I know you’ll make them again and again. Experiment with different combinations and spices to keep things interesting!


Perfect Roasted Vegetables

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 6-8 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 red onion, cut into six wedges

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, hard ends chopped off, then halved (quarter the larger ones)

  • 1 pint of mushrooms (white button), cleaned and stems removed

  • 2-3 Tbsp grapeseed oil*

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Line a large sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray, then add the vegetables to the pan (working in batches if necessary to keep one layer and prevent overcrowding).

  3. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and toss to coat. Season with garlic powder, then salt and pepper to taste (along with any other seasonings you prefer).

  4. Roast for 20 minutes uninterrupted, then remove pan from the oven and stir the vegetables around. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes until you see browned and crispy edges.

*notes:

If you don’t have grapeseed oil, canola or vegetable oil will work too.


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A Short-Cut Guide to Sunday Food Prep

chopped bok choy

The words 'food prep' have really become a bit of a buzz phrase on social media in recent years. Most people tend to equate prepping with extra time on Sunday that should be spent doing more important things like going to brunch, hanging out with family or doing yard work (#adulting). But I'm in the camp that food prep does not have to take hours, so I thought it might be helpful to break down my (much shorter) process. 

Even spending one solid hour organizing your grocery haul, then prepping some things for the week can have a huge benefit. One strategy you might try is to set a timer for 60 minutes and get as much as possible done in that amount of time. You would be surprised how much you can accomplish. 

Rest assured, we aren't talking about rows of chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice in perfectly lined up tupperware containers here. My strategy is to make enough grab and go breakfasts and snacks to keep things simple on weekday mornings, plus pre-chop some of the more time-intensive dinner components ahead of time to speed things up on the night of. It's a relatively small amount of time that pays back in a huge way during the busy work week.

Not sure where to start? Here is an example dinner plan with suggestions for food prep that you can do on Sunday. 

On the Menu

Monday - 20-Minute Shiitake Mushroom Ramen (meatless Monday!)

Tuesday - Zucchini Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Chicken

Wednesday - Spiced Chickpea and Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Thursday - Simple Grilled Salmon, Rice, Vegetable

Friday - Vegged Out Game-Day Nachos

chopped carrots celery zucchini

Sunday to-do List:

  • Think about how to make breakfasts easier for the week: make a batch of hard-boiled eggs, prep overnight oats, and chop fruits/veggies for smoothie packs that you can keep in the freezer and then just add liquid when ready to blend

  • Cook a big batch of brown rice (time-intensive on a week night).

  • Slice peppers and onions for sautéing later

  • Wash and chop your vegetable that's planned for Thursday if it won't wilt or brown; wash fresh herbs, wrap in a paper towel and store in a large zip top bag

  • Make peanut sauce and store in a jar

  • Spiralize your zucchini for the Tuesday dish

  • Chop fresh veggies for easy snacking before dinner when you need something to munch on. I like carrots, celery and red bell pepper and keep them next to hummus in the fridge. These are perfect for pre-dinner snacking - just enough to tide your hunger without totally spoiling your appetite.

  • Wash and chop any fruit that needs to be prepped, like melon or strawberries. If you do this ahead of time and you can just grab and go, you'll be much more likely to reach for it.

  • Make homemade pizza dough if that's your thing (I usually buy it from the store)

Invest in some high-quality food storage containers because as silly as it sounds, stained and warped containers might make you shy away from packing your lunch as often as you might otherwise. I like these pyrex ones (affiliate link) and use them daily for leftovers and/or packing my food for the day. I love that they are microwave and dishwasher safe because hand-washing dishes is pretty much my least favorite chore - so now I don't have to do it!

spiralized zucchini

Taking time to do all of these food prep tasks when you already have cutting boards and knives out and dirtied is a huge time saver. Plus, sometimes it can be hard to find motivation to cook after a long day of work so the less steps your dinner involves, the more likely you are to actually make it. Always make the healthy choice the easy choice! By setting yourself up for success you'll be much more likely to stay on track with your plan.


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