The Magical Cooking Technique that Will Get You to Eat Your Veggies

By Stepfanie Romine, co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight"

You think you hate vegetables? This foolproof and rather quick cooking technique will have you gobbling up those loathed vegetables and begging for seconds.

So what's the secret?

Roasting!

Roasting concentrates the natural sugars in vegetables and caramelizes the outside, giving those humble vegetables a sweet, rich flavor, a crispy coating and a soft interior.

The technique is simple.

1. Empty out your crisper.

One recent night, I roasted:
2 handfuls of radishes
2 carrots
1 large turnip
1 large potato
1 zucchini
1/2 an onion


Those first three vegetables are on my boyfriend's will-not-eat list, and radishes and turnips aren't high on my list of favorite vegetables, either.

2. Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. (I like to make them bite size, but you can leave them larger.)

3. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Cover the pan with foil for easy clean up.)

4. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper and dried herbs (dried rosemary, thyme and oregano are good; so is cumin), then drizzle on some olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons).

5. Put them in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then placed them under the broiler for another 5 minutes or so (keep a close eye on the broiler so your vegetables don't burn).

Result: My boyfriend and I ate every last piece of vegetable, with zero complaints. Seriously. He ate carrots. All of them.

Roasted vegetables are magical. Picky children, persnickety husbands and particular friends can't resist them.

And if all else fails, serve them with ketchup! (Just kidding!)

More tips:

  • Coat vegetables in your favorite vinaigrette or sprinkle on a flavored vinegar before baking. I like tarragon vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or lemon juice are good, too.

  • To more evenly coat your vegetables, place vegetables in a bowl and then drizzle on dressing, or herbs and oil. Mix well with your hands.

  • Almost any vegetable works: Onions, peppers, garlic, squash, zucchini, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celery, fennel, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, kohlrabi, mushrooms, okra (leave them whole so they don't get gummy), pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, radishes… you're only limited by your imagination.

  • Bitter or pungent vegetables such as radishes or turnips become sweet and mild when roasted.

  • Make sure vegetables are roughly the same size so they cook at the same time.

  • Leave peels on vegetables for added nutrition.

  • Mash vegetables after roasting (add a bit of skim milk or fat-free broth to thin) for a jazzed-up, flavor-packed substitute for mashed potatoes.


What's your favorite way to eat your veggies?


Related links:

What Healthy Food Do You Want to Learn to Like?

The 10 Healthiest Foods You've Never Tried

How Cooking Affects Your Vegetables' Nutritional Value

SparkRecipes.com editor Stepfanie Romine is a certified yoga teacher and co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight." A vegan and runner, she has lived and cooked on three continents.