Yes, tomato season has passed, and it’s worth mourning. Corn is not nearly as good. Peaches have been replaced by apples, and citrus will be flooding our markets soon enough. So, what can we embrace right now that is fresh and tasty? Root vegetables and squash are in abundance and roasting them brings a new, rich flavor. If you are not a vegetable roaster, take some time and try it out as we’re betting that you’ll be a convert after you try one of these roasted fall vegetable recipes. All you need, for the most part, is a hot oven, about 45 minutes, the fresh veggies and a little oil, salt and pepper!
Tips for roasting vegetables:
- Almost all vegetables can be roasted at 400 to 425 degrees.
- The harder the vegetable, the longer it takes to cook.
- The larger the vegetable chunk, the longer it takes to cook.
- Don’t skimp on the oil, salt and pepper! Each vegetable piece needs to be coated in oil (I prefer olive oil or avocado oil), and each piece needs to have some salt and pepper.
- Cook until some of the veggies are starting to toast (turn brown) and all veggies can be easily pierced by a fork.
- Softer veggies take around 10-20 minutes to roast (tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini). Harder veggies take around 35-40 minutes to cook (potatoes, beets, carrots).
- Don’t crowd your veggies on the baking sheet as they need to roast with air around them. Otherwise, the overlapping veggies will steam and that’s a different sort of cooking. We are looking for a roasted flavor, not a steamed flavor.
- You can roast multiple vegetables together, but keep them in the same family of “hardness” or else you’ll need to roast in stages (adding softer veggies later in the roasting cycle.). So, turnips, butternut squash, beets, carrots and potatoes can roast together (hard root vegetables take the longest to roast); fennel, onion and celery together (softer root veggies); zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant together (soft vegetables).
- None of this applies to spaghetti squash except the temperature, oil and salt & pepper part :-)
Spaghetti squash does not taste like pasta; it tastes like spaghetti squash. Duh. But, so many places make you think it’s magically pasta-flavored and it’s not. While it can be used to replace pasta (it’s so yummy topped with spicy marinara sauce) in a dish, it does not mimic the flavor. This misconception leads to disappointment. It’s a vegetable that tastes like a vegetable, not a pasta!
Spaghetti squash is incredibly easy to make and just takes about two minutes of prep work and the time to pre-heat the oven.
The best way, hands down, to roast spaghetti squash is to slice the squash in half, lengthwise and leave the seeds in. Then, lightly rub olive oil onto the cut side and place the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet cut side down. Roast at 425º for 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of the squash). Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes. Then, scoop out the seeds and membranes to which they are attached. From here, you just start scraping the rest of the squash — its fibers create pieces that look like broken spaghetti. You can serve straight from the bowl that the squash skin has made or scoop into another serving vessel.
Walk in from work, pre-heat your oven, slice your squash, oil it, place in the oven and then go about your life. It will be waiting and yummy in about 45 minutes!
Check out Greatist.com’s 43 Mouthwatering Spaghetti Squash Recipes.
I love roasted beets, but I hate peeling and cutting them in order to prep them to roast. Recently, I learned this amazing tip that changed my beet-eating life. Take your beets and wash them. Then, wrap each beet in foil and place in a preheated 425º oven for 45-50 minutes (larger beets can take up to an hour). Take them out, open the foil (you can test with a fork for doneness — just stab the beet and decide if they need to cook longer), and let cool for a few minutes. Then, wearing latex gloves to protect your hands from getting fuchsia-stained, simply rub the skin to remove. It’s super simple. Then, cut the beets, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and you have roasted beets! In addition, I like to squeeze fresh orange juice across them (or lemon juice if you don’t have oranges on hand). Add a little parsley and thyme for flavor and fresh green color. Delicious!
I also like to top my beets with goat cheese. There are lots of good goat cheeses out there, but I do like Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic brand, and it saves a few bucks along the way. (Disclaimer: Kroger is a sponsor of StyleBlueprint’s which is why we try so many of their brand foods, discovering amazing finds, which save us all some money, along the way. A tip for all these recipes is Kroger’s house brand spices with special call outs to both the Simple Truth and Private Selection varieties.)
Roasted Fennel Bulb & Onion with Apples
Fennel may be new to you, and if it is, it has a licorice type flavor which is subdued when roasted. It’s also delicious thinly sliced up and raw on an arugula salad with apples, onions, walnuts and goat cheese. It’s definitely its own flavor and one I’ve learned to associate with fall. Try that salad paired with a glass dry white wine, outside with the changing leaves … it’s fabulous. (This salad is called “My Favorite Fall Salad” and is listed HERE.)
Now for the roasted version: Slice up a fennel bulb just like you would an onion, into circular pieces and then in half. Slice up an onion the same way. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400º for 15-20 minutes. While they roast, cut up two large apples (I prefer honey crisp and galas — there is no need to peel them unless you prefer them that way) and place in a heated skillet with olive oil. Cook for five minutes and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Cook another five minutes until they are cooked through and a little crisped. Add one tablespoon of butter. Then, toss with the roasted onions and fennel. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
This makes a delicious side, as well as an autumn replacement for coleslaw on a BBQ sandwich. You could also place a mound of this on a plate and add a few slices of pork tenderloin or a pork chop on top.
Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Miso Butter
This is my middle daughter’s favorite vegetable in the fall, but likely all four seasons. Luckily, it’s super easy to prepare.
If you prefer your carrots peeled, then peel them. These carrots are best cut in half, lengthwise — plus they are prettier this way. But, for the smaller carrots, roast them whole.
After cutting your carrots in half, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook in a preheated 425º oven for 30 minutes. While roasting, blend two parts butter to one part red miso paste with a spoon. (I prefer the HemisFares™ red miso paste, another Kroger brand find). When carrots come out of the oven, place them in a bowl and drop the miso butter on top to melt over them. Add some fresh chopped Italian parsley for added herb freshness.
While these make a great side with anything, my middle daughter and I will eat these as a meal as we love them so much. Hope you do, too!
Want another fabulous seasonal recipe that is super easy? This ‘Cuban Pork in the Slow Cooker‘ recipe is amazing, especially for fall.