Parchment paper. That's the secret. And since I discovered it, my life hasn't been the same.
Over the years, one of the touchier challenges I've had as a personal chef and recipe developer (as well as mom to my own two little girls) has been finding a way to make veggies appealing to occasionally-choosy eaters.
What I've learned is that when you roast veggies on parchment paper, not only is it super simple, it's practically fool-proof for making perfectly crisp vegetables that please even the pickiest of palates. Seriously, I've converted lots and lots of veggie haters into "more broccoli, please"-ers with this simple, surefire technique.
When you roast vegetables, the heat removes water, which condenses the veggies’ natural sugars and gives them a dense, lightly-sweet nuttiness, without letting them get mushy. By roasting them on parchment, they also come out deliciously crispy and browned with quick and easy cleanup. Trust me, even the less popular veggies (say cauliflower or Brussels sprouts) are amazing when they're crispy and roasted.
Here are some tips to help you roast rocking veggies on parchment:
Set Your Oven to 450 Degrees If your oven runs really hot, drop to 425 or 400, but keep it pretty hot to ensure crispiness.
Cut Your Veggies Evenly Slice whatever veggies you’re roasting into as evenly-sized pieces as possible so they all cook in the same amount of time.
Add a Little Spice Before roasting, always toss your cut veggies with a drizzle of evoo, kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Experiment with other flavors as well by adding some of your favorite herbs or spices to the basic S&P mix.
A Few Flavor & Veggie Combos to Try:
Can't Get Enough Cauliflower – add curry powder and cumin to the salt, pepper & evoo mix for a delicious treat.
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries – cumin, cayenne, cinnamon
Bangin' Brussels Sprouts –add thyme to the S&P mix, then finish with orange zest, maple syrup, bacon, or balsamic before serving
Or Make Roasted Veggie Ratatouille – put zucchini and diced peppers on one tray, cubed eggplant on the other, stir into simmering tomato sauce
REMEMBER! It's important to give your veggies room to breathe. Spread them evenly across the parchment and leave space for the air to circulate. Too little space = too much moisture, giving you mushy, meh veggies. If you've got a lot of veggies to roast, opt for using a second baking sheet instead of piling them on top of each other.
Note: Toss at 10 Check your veggies about 10 minutes into roasting (especially if you’re not sure how hot your oven runs). Toss them once or twice while cooking so they get beautifully browned on several sides. If you’re roasting two pans at once, switch their rack position each time you toss them.
Once you're done, your veggie masterpiece will effortlessly slide off the parchment, yummy crispy bits included. Paper goes in the trash and a quick rinse in soapy water cleans your pan for the next time. How awesome is that?