10 Delicious Veggies to Roast This AutumnArticle posted in: Nutrition
If you grew up eating bland, boiled-to-death vegetables, there’s a good chance you’ve never really tasted how good vegetables can be. Yes, even Brussels sprouts are delicious when cooked properly. Roasting—whether done in the oven or on the grill—does two things: One, it uses dry heat to remove some of the water in food, intensifying the natural flavors and sweetness; and two, the longer a veggie (or anything) roasts—particularly at higher temperatures (400 degrees)—the more browning can occur. Browning equals flavor. So what are our favorite roasted veggies?
Check out our top 10 picks for roasted veggies:
1. Brussels Sprouts
You love them or you hate them. If you’re in the “hate them” camp, don’t pass judgment on these roasted veggies until you’ve cooked them with salt, pepper and a little olive oil at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes. We’ll bet you’ll feel differently after you’ve had a bite. According to Penn State Extension, these greens are loaded with potassium, riboflavin, iron, magnesium and vitamins A & C—Brussels sprouts are bite-size nutrition powerhouses. When you purchase Brussels, look for bright green, smaller sprouts because they’re the most tender and mildly flavored. To preserve freshness, always refrigerate, but use within three to five days and wash just before cooking. Always remove wilted leaves and recut the white stem before cooking as well. Brussels sprouts are a non-starchy veggie. One serving equals one cup raw or a half cup cooked.
2. Spaghetti Squash
There’s no doubt this fall vegetable lives up to its name. When cooked until tender, the flesh of a spaghetti squash peels off the skin in ribbons—just like spaghetti. Instead of eating 100% carbs (and gluten) though, you’re eating a vegetable that’s high in fiber, Vitamin A and carotenoid, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Squash also helps improve immunity and skin health. To roast a spaghetti squash, halve the squash, remove the seeds, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast at 450 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Cool before scraping. Toss with marinara and you’re adding flavor plus mega doses of vitamin C and lycopene from the tomatoes. Spaghetti squash is a non-starchy veggie. One serving equals a half cup.
Like spaghetti squash, cauliflower is one of our “eat this, not that” favorites. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Instead of stir-fry over rice, have stir-fry over cauliflower rice. The texture is very similar and cauliflower is mildly flavored, blending in easily with other ingredients. Plus, with every bite of cauliflower, you’re enriching your body with Vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins. Cauliflower also contains protein, potassium, magnesium, manganese and fiber. Drizzle the florets with olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a sprinkle of cumin or paprika. You could also grill a whole head of cauliflower and then slice it into “steaks” for a vegetarian dinner. Cauliflower is a non-starchy vegetable. One serving equals one cup raw or a half cup cooked.
These green, tomato-like fruits (yes, they’re technically fruits) are terrific roasted and mixed into a game-day salsa or sauce. To roast, just remove the husk, rinse off the sticky film, halve them, and roast on the grill or in the oven at 400 degrees. You can also broil tomatillos until darkly roasted and blackened in spots. According to Dr. Mercola of Food Facts, tomatillos are a good source of dietary fiber, niacin, potassium and manganese and also contain vitamins A, C and K. Researchers at the University of Kansas discovered 14 compounds in tomatillos proving to be powerful at fighting tumors and cancer without side effects or toxicity. Tomatillos are non-starchy veggies. One serving equals one cup raw or a half cup cooked.
Talk about a top pick for naturally sweet roasted veggies! Carrots don’t need a honey or brown sugar glaze. To really enhance the sweetness, drizzle a little olive oil and salt on your carrots before roasting. Expecting guests? Yellow, orange, red, white and purple carrots make a beautiful presentation. The colors may also add some additional nutrients, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Purple have pigment-related nutrients which may provide additional Vitamin A and prevent heart disease; red have lycopene which is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers; yellow may aid with cancer prevention and better eye health; and white are higher in fiber to promote healthy digestion. On the South Beach Diet, carrots are a starchy veggie and should be enjoyed in moderation. One serving equals a half cup.
If you’re in search of a new vegetable to spice up your dinner routine, try roasted beets or beetroot. If looking to remove the root, they’re easy to prepare: Slice off the tops and roots and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Dice and bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees. You can also wrap whole beets in foil and roast them until tender. According to Harvard Health, beets and beetroot are good source of the B vitamin folate, manganese and naturally high in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide and helps lower blood pressure. Beets count as a starchy vegetable on the South Beach Diet so stick to a half cup serving.
Bella. White. Shitake. Cremini. Button. There are plenty of mushroom varieties sold in stores and dozens of recipes that call for them. But if you’ve never considered having mushrooms be your star side dish to your grilled salmon or pork tenderloin, you’re missing out. Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamins B and D, dietary fiber, selenium and protein. They’re also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants, according to Medical News. Roast mushrooms at a higher temperature—like 450 degrees—and try mixing with a little garlic to enhance the flavor. Hold the salt and garlic until later in the cooking process. Salt brings out moisture, causing the mushrooms to steam, which prevents browning. (Remember, browning = flavor.) Wait to add the garlic because it burns easily. Mushrooms are a non-starchy vegetable. One serving equals one cup raw or a half cup cooked.
8. Endive or Romaine Lettuce
One of the best ways to put a fall spin on a summery food is to roast it. Buy a head of romaine or endive, slice it down the middle and then brush the face with olive oil. Garnish with salt and pepper and then grill (or broil) the lettuce for one or two minutes over high heat. You’re looking for a slight char on the lettuce, nothing more. What you get from that char is a smoky depth you didn’t think possible. Top these greens with grilled shrimp or chicken, tomatoes, avocado and a little vinaigrette and you’ve got a terrific salad. Lettuce is a non-starchy vegetable. One cup of lettuce equals one serving.
There’s the bulb, the leafy green parts and then the seeds. What’s a person to eat? All of it. Fennel seeds are what give sausage its peppery, “sausage like” flavor; the leafy green pieces make a terrific salad or garnish on a hot soup; and the bulb of fennel is perfect for roasting. Fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B, C and K, plus iron and zinc are just some of the nutrients it contains. Try roasting fennel on a cookie sheet with sweet potatoes and bone-in chicken breast. Or, enjoy fennel alongside a lean sirloin.
Time for dessert! Did you know that canned pumpkin is just roasted pumpkin without salt or sugar? In other words, stock up. Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) is definitely a South Beach Diet-approved food, and you don’t have to buy a sugar or pie pumpkin and roast it yourself—unless you want to. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. So make yourself a little treat: A pumpkin mousse warmed with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and all natural sugar substitute. Add some sugar free chocolate chips for a crunch. Want to make a pie? Try a whole wheat or crushed pecan crust bound with a little butter. Just be sure to count the butter as an extra for the day!