When it comes to easy dinner ideas, roasting veggies tops the charts. Just be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.
As a busy working parent, one of the best things I can do for my family is have a solid stable of easy dinner ideas in my back pocket. One of my go-to quick dinner strategies is roasting. Oven roasted vegetables are fast, especially if I prep ahead, and reliably deliver delicious dishes that my kids will actually eat (roasting cuts the bitterness). To ensure crispy, yet tender, oven roasted vegetables watch out for these common mistakes.
Size Matters: Cut your veggies into roughly the same size pieces so they cook evenly. Shoot for 1” to 1.5” chunks. That way you won’t overwhelm your kids with big bites.
Pick the Right Pan: Baking dishes are a recipe for disaster with oven roasted vegetables. The high sides of a baking dish will cause veggies to steam rather than get crispy. Instead, use a baking sheet. My favorite is the Goldtouch Baking Sheet from Williams-Sonoma because it cooks evenly and cleans up in a flash.
Tip: For extra crispy oven roasted vegetables, start with the flat sides of the veggies down on the baking sheet, then toss part way through cooking.
Give Space: Crowding too many veggies on the baking sheet is another recipe for mushy vegetables and unhappy kids. Just like the pan problem, crowding will cause veggies to steam rather than crisp. So give ‘em a little space! This is especially important with dishes like Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chips and Crispy Kale Chips.
Tip: Arranging your veggies on a wire baking rack set inside your baking sheet will ensure even more crispiness!
Easy Dinner Ideas: Oven Roasted Vegetables
Seasonal veggies in winter and fall are hearty enough to stand up to roasting. Below, a few of our favorite recipes:
Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower
A spiraling spectacle, Romanesco resembles a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. My kids call it “alien broccoli” and it’s easy to see why. The flavor is much like cauliflower. It’s only available for a few short weeks in the winter, so grab it when you spot it at the market. Our favorite way to enjoy it is roasted with a dash of parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower Recipe from The 52 New Foods Challenge
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chips
Roasted Brussels sprouts chips are like potato chips, only 500X better. They feature the best part of roasted Brussels sprouts: the crispy, crunchy leaves. Sayonara soggy centers. Bye bye mushy middles. Hello to happy kids devouring every last crispy chip—straight from the pan.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chips from The 52 New Foods Challenge
Watch the one-minute technique video for how to make Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chips.
Crispy Kale Chips
The secret to extra crispy kale chips is to let the leaves fully dry before roasting. Wash the kale and then give the leaves a whirl in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Set on paper towels to dry. I find it’s best to wash the leaves in the morning, so they’re ready for assembly at dinnertime. Remember, don’t layer the leaves in the pan or they’ll be soggy.
Get the Recipe: Crispy Kale Chips from The 52 New Foods Challenge
Roasted Edamame Pop’ems are one of our favorite healthy snacks. They are best served warm, right out of the oven.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Edamame Pop’ems from The 52 New Foods Challenge