Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out the flavor in them without a lot of fuss and bother. I think even somewhat plain tasting veggies like kohlrabi and carrots really shine when roasted. And full flavored ones like broccoli and Brussels sprouts take on another dimension when roasted. In the past, we’ve roasted them in a baking pan, but our new favorite way here at Happy Acres is to roast veggies in a cast iron skillet. My wife and I have found it’s an easy and tasty way to prepare lots of different vegetables.
In fact, we like it so well we actually have a cast iron skillet that is dedicated to roasting veggies. It’s a well seasoned antique that belonged to my mother, and is likely as old as I am. Mom’s old skillet is only 10 inches in diameter, but we have a 12 incher we can press into service when needed. Cleanup is easy afterwards, we just wipe out the skillet with a dishcloth after it cools. No scrubbing is required since nothing sticks! It does stay hot for a long time, so I like to keep a pot holder or the oven mitt sitting on the handle so we don’t grab it by mistake and get burned.
Our basic recipe for skillet roasted veggies goes something like this:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. While oven is heating, place cast iron skillet on rack in middle of oven.
- Prepare the veggies while the oven and skillet are heating up. Various sizes and shapes work well, but it helps to keep the pieces uniform in size. We have sliced, diced and spiralized the veggies and all those methods work.
- Toss the veggies with olive oil and a little salt. You can add other seasonings too at this point, but we find most of the vegetables don’t need a lot other than salt and maybe a bit of pepper. A splash of vinegar after roasting is nice sometimes, and you can always add things like nuts or seeds near the end of the roasting time.
- After 30 minutes of pre-heating, remove the skillet from the stove. I use an oven mitt to protect my hand and arm from the hot skillet.
- Add the vegetables to the skillet, in a single layer if possible, and put the skillet back in the oven.
- Check after 10 or 15 minutes, and turn the vegetables over so all sides will come in contact with the skillet and brown a bit.
- Test the vegetables for doneness after 20-25 minutes total cooking time. Most vegetables take about 30 minutes to roast, but it all depends on the size of the pieces and how soft you want the veggies to be.
The candidates for roasting are numerous, including potatoes and sweet potatoes, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, green beans, radishes and jicama.
Since summer squash has so much moisture in it, it doesn’t brown up like other vegetables do, but it does cook down and winds up with a good flavor.
Kohlrabi is one of our favorites for roasting, and we enjoy it both thinly sliced and spiralized. It is mild tasting when raw, but roasting definitely takes it to another level.
If you have a cast iron skillet that’s collecting dust somewhere, you might consider getting it out and trying some roasted veggies. And for those who use one already for roasting veggies, I’d love to hear your ideas on how you use it and what you roast in it. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!