If summer is all about grilling, fall is all about turning your oven back on, and making hearty roasted vegetables. The vast majority of fall’s bounty—think root vegetables, squashes, big, leafy greens—are best prepared roasted until golden and tender.
Here are some failsafe tips for preparing just about any fall produce—and mixing and matching to keep your taste buds happy all season long.
Don’t be Afraid of the Heat!
A safe temperature bet for roasting hearty fall vegetables is always 425 F degrees. The higher heat will help the vegetable to caramelize and brown quicker without burning them. Extra bonus? Get the baking sheet hot in the oven before adding your veggies to it.
To help your vegetables get golden brown, give them some breathing room. Crowding them too close together will create a steaming effect, rather than roasting. Always keep them in a single layer, with space in between.
Spice it Up
Add a whole new dimension to your roasted vegetable game by using fresh herbs and spices. Sweet, earthy root vegetables and dark, leafy greens lend themselves well to bold herbs like rosemary, sage, and whole thyme sprigs, or spice blends like curry powder and za’atar. For fresh herbs, strips the leaves and finely mince before tossing with your vegetables, or liberally sprinkle over dried herbs and spices. Mix and match for endless flavor combinations.
Always Use Kosher Salt
Kosher salt is the only salt you should use on your vegetables for controlling the seasoning. After drizzling your vegetables with oil, use a three-finger pinch of salt and shower it over your veggies from about 12 inches above to cover as much surface area as possible. Table salt is more concentrated, and therefore saltier, making it harder to control.
Vegetables + a few splashes olive oil + three-finger pinch kosher salt + a few grinds fresh black pepper + minced herbs or a spice blend = roasted vegetable perfection. On a baking sheet, toss your vegetables with every part of the equation to fully coat, then arrange in a single layer (without overcrowding!). Roast away. For heartier root vegetables like squashes, start checking after 15 minutes. For leafy greens like kale or more tender vegetables like carrots, peek after about 10 minutes.
When cutting something into cubes, like butternut squash or carrots, try to make all your cuts around the same size for even cooking. Keep in mind your veggies will shrink back as they roast, so cut them slightly larger than your desired end product.