Roasting and Recipes with Chef Brandon

Many people know roasted vegetables taste better, but what does roasting mean? It has a long history. Roasting started as an “open-air activity with a hand-turned spit revolving over a fire,” and later, when roasting moved indoors with ovens, the techniques changed. The earliest firm evidence that our own species was cooking dates back just 20,000 years, when the first pots were made in China.

According to most chefs, roasting is mostly high-heat cooking (400 degrees or more) with no water added. A light coating of oil before cooking will help caramelize vegetables and helps prevent them from sticking to the pan. Every vegetable roasts a little differently. Peppers can take broiler heat, but extra-thin slices of vegetables, tomatoes, and leafy greens require lower heat. Kale can burn easily and is best when roasted at 200 degrees. For many vegetables, when the heat is turned down, they cook but don’t develop the crisp browned exterior. When water is added or a cover is placed over the vegetables, they steam and lose the sweet tones.

Some chefs suggest parboiling dense vegetables like russet potatoes before roasting to ensure the vegetable is cooked inside when the outside becomes crisp. Parboiling is like blanching and means the vegetables are plunged briefly in a large pot of boiling water. This technique softens food so when the outside browns the inside is soft. Parboiled vegetables are slightly sweeter, and if you cut vegetables thin, consider parboiling as an option to try, rather than a rule to follow.

When roasting fruit, remember any fruit that can be grilled can be roasted. For best results, choose firm varieties like apples, pears, mangos, and pineapples. Unlike with vegetables, oil isn’t necessary to bring out sweetness, and adding liquids to fruit before roasting is encouraged. Garnish or drizzle with chocolate sauce or maple syrup. Try chocolate chips and crushed nuts as a topping.

Roasted Root Vegetables

These make a great side dish. Or try them with salsa and black or red beans on crispy corn tortillas.

• 1 rutabaga, small dice
• 1 turnip, small dice
• 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
• 1 small sweet potato, small dice
• 1 small potato, small dice
• 1 ½ Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
• Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss rutabaga, turnip, carrot, sweet potato, potato, olive oil, and garlic. Spread vegetables in a single layer in one or two baking pans. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir or turn vegetables every 10 minutes. Vegetables and garlic are done when they are lightly browned and soft inside. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Roasted Maple-Cinnamon Apples

This easy dessert tastes like apple pie without the crust. For variety, swap allspice with nutmeg and try this recipe with pears instead of apples. Everyone will enjoy this dessert served with their favorite frozen treat.

• 1 Tablespoon vegan margarine, melted
• ¼ cup organic brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon allspice
• 4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch slices
• 2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Place apples in a single layer in a baking dish. Toss with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Garnish with pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Serve with vanilla frozen dessert.

Orange Roasted Pineapple with Chocolate and Coconut Sorbet

Chocolate and pineapple pair up very well. Wholesome Sweeteners dark brown sugar is a vegan product, so look for it in the natural foods section at your local grocery store. A small scoop of coconut sorbet really makes this recipe shine. This recipe also works well with lemon sorbet.

• 1 small pineapple, cut into wedges, ends, peel, and tough core removed
• ¼ cup dark brown organic sugar
• ½ cup fresh orange juice
• ¼ cup roughly chopped toasted almonds (optional)
• 2 cups coconut sorbet
• ¼ cup dairy-free chocolate topping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place pineapple wedges in a baking dish. Combine brown sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and spoon half over pineapple, reserving half to baste the pineapple as it roasts.

Roast for 10 minutes, turn, brush with marinade, and roast another 10 minutes. Repeat until pineapple is tender on the inside and browned on the outside. Serve with a scoop of coconut sorbet. Garnish with almonds and drizzle with chocolate topping.

Here is my cheat sheet that help determine time and temperature when roasting vegetables. Enjoy!

Vegetable Time Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Asparagus 20 minutes 425°
Artichokes (baby, cut in half) 15 minutes 450°
Beets, small dice 30 minutes 400°
Brussels sprouts (small, whole) 35 minutes 400°
Cauliflower (whole) 45 minutes 425°
Carrots (matchsticks) 30 minutes 425°
Fennel (wedges) 20 minutes 425°
Eggplant (½-inch slices) 30 minutes 425°
Garlic (cut off top/roast whole) 35 minutes 425°
Jerusalem artichokes (½-inch slices) 15 minutes 500°
Kale 30 minutes 200°
Leeks, sliced in half lengthwise 40 minutes 400°
Mushrooms, button, cremini, turn halfway through 12 minutes 450°
Mushrooms, portobello, turn halfway through 12 minutes 450°
Onions, whole, stem end removed 60 minutes 400°
Onions, cut in half 30 minutes 425°
Parsnips, sliced or cut in half lengthwise 30 minutes 425°
Peppers, whole 45 minutes 400°
Potatoes (diced or fries) 20 minutes 450°
Squash, summer, cut in half lengthwise 20 minutes 425°
Squash, winter, cubed 45 minutes 425°
Sweet potatoes/yams, sliced or cubed 35 minutes 425°
Tomatoes, Roma, cut in half 90 minutes 325°
Tomatoes, Cherry, whole 90 minutes 325°
Turnips, cut in quarters 30 minutes 475°

Brandon Askew//Chef on Demand™

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