Growing up, vegetables were almost always boiled in my house. Corn, carrots, peas, green beans, beets -- whatever -- they always went into a pot of boiling water. Unfortunately, if there are two things that boiling vegetables does really well, they are robbing the veggies of taste and making them super mushy. Seriously.
Really, it's no wonder why so many kids grow up thinking vegetables are gross. When all you ever eat are veggies that have been boiled mercilessly, then you really have no reason to like them ... But, fortunately, there are far better ways to cook vegetables that result in crave-worthy side dishes. Steaming can leave flavor intact, while getting veggies to the right tenderness. Stir-frying can be a lot of fun, especially with good flavorings. But my favorite way to cook just about any vegetable? Roasting.
Roasting is a really simple technique: You preheat the oven to a high-ish temperature (generally somewhere between 400 and 450), toss cut-up veggies with a little fat (like olive oil), season with salt and pepper (and maybe a few herbs or spices) and bake, stirring once or twice. Depending on the vegetable, this can be completed in less than 15 or 20 minutes. Easy peasy.
So, what's the reward of doing this? Tender, sweet, mouthwateringly good vegetables. Seriously. They are the best. My children adore just about any vegetable that's roasted. It really changes the way you look at eating veggies (adults who are anti-veg can also find a love for them by cooking this way too!).
This works with so many great veggies, from Brussels sprouts
My new fav? Roasted Balsamic Green Beans
. Using fresh-frozen green beans, these babies cook up with a tangy crunch that is so tasty alongside red meat. Eat 'em like fries, with a fork or even toss them in your salad. Any which way, they are really good.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out these recipes for roasted veggies:Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger. Find her online at Sarah's Cucina Bella.