Cooking is truly an art that takes time and constant repetition to figure out. After many years, I have finally cracked the code of the secret to perfect veggies every time you bake them. Why baked vegetables you ask? Because there is no easier way (in my opinion) to cook vegetables and they taste SO good. If you’re just starting to try to incorporate vegetables into your diet, this would be the way I would encourage you to do so!
Seasoned cooks, you can probably skip or skim through this post. This is for my new cooks out there and shares the epiphany moment I had when I discovered the secret to perfect veggies with this easy combination!
What vegetables can you bake?
The beauty of the secret to perfect veggies is that it can be used on a wide variety of vegetables! Need some ideas? How about you try baking:
- Asparagus. Sprinkle lemon or shredded parmesan for added flavor
- Zucchini or squash. Thinly sliced and just a hint of salt and pepper and they are the best chips.
- Brussel sprouts. Coconut oil and lemon really add some taste to these.
- Sweet potatoes. Mix up some chopped fresh garlic, olive oil & paprika and drizzle over French fry cut slices.
- Green beans. Baked, these almost taste like French fries to me.
- Bell peppers
What’s great about baking vegetables is you can put a ton on one pan. So don’t be afraid to throw a bunch of these options together on one pan and maybe some chopped up onion for added flavor. Baking vegetables was how I slowed eased my husband into eating vegetables. I used to cover asparagus in cheese and bake it and hey, it was better than cheese fries. Slowly over time, he began to enjoy the flavor of asparagus on its own. This year he started requesting salads with dinner and I’m like WHOA WHO ARE YOU. The point is, take some baby steps and maybe one day you’ll enjoy vegetables more!
The steps to baking perfect veggies
STEP 1: PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN
Listen, I am always mad at myself for skipping over this step so I had to put it first as a reminder. Don’t get all the way to the last step and realize your oven isn’t pre-heated ok? Or, if you do end up forgetting, just keep adding 5 minutes to the total bake time and check on it until they are baked to your liking. Part of my secret to perfect veggies is the baking temperature. Pre-heat your oven to 375F degrees and all of your vegetables should be good!
Step 2: WASH THEM GOOD (Well. I know)
Always start out by washing your vegetables with water. Even if it’s a pre-packaged bag that promises it has been “triple-washed”, you should take a second to wash them anyway. Did you know that triple-washed doesn’t always (or even usually) mean it has been washed with water? Most of the time they are washed with some time of sanitizer to try and lessen the amount of pathogens. Gross.
So wash your veggies ok people? You don’t know where they have been.
STEP 3: DRY THEM OUT
IMPORTANT: Do not skip this step. This is it. My big secret to perfect veggies y’all.
Make sure you dry them out. Removing the extra water from the vegetables somehow allows them to get the crisp (not slimy) factor that is so good. It seems silly but the secret to great baked vegetables is removing that water.
There are two ways you can go about it, but do not skip the step of removing the water from your veggies. Here’s what you can try:
1. Take a dry paper towel and remove any water residue from your vegetables
2. Even quicker and more efficient is to place your vegetables in the oven while it’s still preheating. Let the oven do the work for you by placing the vegetables on a sheet pan or an oven safe colander, while the oven is still below 300F degrees. Place the veggies in the oven and be sure to check on them regularly. Usually around 10 minutes is enough time to dry them properly.
STEP 4: ADD It ALL TO THE PAN
Lay out some aluminium foil on a pan, spray it with some olive oil and throw your chopped veggies on it. If you want a little flavor, sprinkle some salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil, or whatever seasoning is your favorite. Easy peasy, a little lemon squeezy (perhaps).
Step 5: THROW 'EM IN
Now it’s time to throw those vegetables in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. 20 minutes is my lucky veggie cooking time and I am hopeful you enjoy it too! As always, be sure to check in on your vegetables around the 20 minute mark to be sure they aren’t burning. If they don’t have a nice light brown (not burnt) color by 20 minutes, continue to add 2-5 minutes every time you go to check on them.
STEP 6: SERVE 'EM UP
Once time is up, carefully take the sheet pan out of the oven and let the vegetables cool a little. After they have had a little time to rest, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy!