An Ode to Roasting
By Sarah Kraynak and Courtney Smith

Fall. The crispness of the air, the anticipation of the leaves turning, the aroma of root vegetables in the oven. Signifying change and a turn of pace, fall is the perfect season to try something new. Fall has more to offer than just apples and pumpkins. Root vegetables are the jewels of fall. Tossed gently with olive oil and simply seasoned, these vegetables are best enjoyed in their most natural state. No need to add more than a touch of salt, as roasting intensifies flavor like no other preparation method. For this, the act of roasting holds a special place in our hearts.

Roasting requires little effort but some patience. A sharp chef's knife may prove to be a roaster's best sous chef. Vegetables are prepared by cutting or cubing and then cooked at 375 to 425 degrees. The result is slightly crisped and browned. Roasting differs from baking in that foods are cooked whole or in larger pieces on higher temperatures. Otherwise, roasting and baking are essentially the same.

When preparing vegetables, sometimes simplicity is best. Roasting captures the essence of the vegetable, a product of caramelization. It elicits a sweet flavor without the need to introduce sweeteners or sauces. Since hot air is utilized to cook the food, there is no need for added fats. This may be considered a gentle method, in which the potential dying effect may be negated, as hot air is less efficient than hot fats, liquid, and steam in transferring heat. It is important to be reminded of the possibility of carryover cooking, where residual heat causes foods to cook even after their removal from the oven.

The roasting enthusiast may be more apt to fulfill his or her daily vegetable quota, as the roasting preparation may be seen as a vehicle to increase vegetable consumption. When experimenting with an unfamiliar vegetable and in doubt, roast! Roasted vegetables might just be the missing ingredient in preparing soups, sandwiches, and salads. Highly recommended to the novice roaster are shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and eggplant.

Roasting allows one to devote his or her attention to other aspects of the meal. However, when it comes down to the final descent, also known as dinner, roasted vegetables arguably steal the spotlight.

The Rules of Roasting:
Herbs: Fresh is best! Try rosemary, thyme, sage, or oregano. Spice up your life! Add a touch of cumin, cayenne, or curry powder. Feeling zesty? Experiment with balsamic vinaigrette or citrus juice and wedges.

Resource: Culinary Institute of America, The Professional Chef''s Techniques of Healthy Cooking, 2nd ed.. (New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 2000), 102-103.

Sarah Kraynak is from Spanish Fort, Alabama. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and currently is completing an internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Courtney Smith is originally from Key Largo, Florida. She is a graduate of Cornell University in New York and also is in the process of completing an internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Roasted Rosemary
Butternut Squash

1medium butternut squash, peeled and diced 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 bunch of fresh rosemary, destemmed 2 tsp. Black pepper ½ tsp.salt
  1. Wash and peel squash with a vegetable peeler.
  2. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and strings using a spoon.
  3. Cut remaining squash into 1 inch cubes and toss evenly with olive oil, rosemary, and spices in a bowl.
  4. Spread into a single layer on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Yields: 4
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 140
Fat: 8 g
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 300 mg
Dietary Fiber: 7 g

Nutrition Fast Fact:

Butternut squash is high in beta-carotene, a building block for vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

Festively Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 stalk Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 medium yellow onion
1 apple (preferably a sweeter variety)
1 pear

1. Wash and quarter Brussels sprouts. 2. Chop apple and pear. 3. Chop and sauté onions on medium heat with olive oil. 4. Place chopped Brussels sprouts, apple, and pear into glass pan. 5. Pour apple cider over so that ingredients are moderately covered. 6. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 7. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until tender. May want to stir veggies for optimal roasting every 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Yields: 8
Serving Size: ¾ cup
Calories: 80
Fat: 0.5 g
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 21 mg
Dietary Fiber: 5 g

Nutrition Fast Fact:

Brussels sprouts provide us with a good source of folate (B vitamin) and vitamin K.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

1 bunch red beets
1 bunch golden beets
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
2 cups baby greens
½ cup extra- virgin olive oil
1 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Tear or cut the beet tops from the beets, leaving about an inch of stalk attached. Wash and thoroughly dry the beets.
  3. Place beets in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast for 30--45 minutes. The beets are done when a knife can easily be inserted into the center of the beet.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, remove the skins from the beets.
  5. Cut the beets into half-inch cubes and toss in a bowl with olive oil-just enough to coat.
  6. Combine 3 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. lemon juice and toss the greens in this dressing mixture in a separate bowl.
  7. Plate the greens, followed by the beets. Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Yields: 4
Calories: 380
Fat: 34 g
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Protein: 8 g
Sodium: 200 mg
Dietary Fiber: 6 g

Nutrition Fast Fact:

Beets are packed with vitamin C, an important antioxidant.

Roasted Roots
(adapted from

1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound celery root, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 onions cut into 1-inch pieces 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch-thick rounds 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary 1/2 cup olive oil 10 garlic cloves, peeled
1. Position a rack in bottom third of oven and another rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°. 2. Spray 2 large, heavy baking sheets with nonstick spray. 3. Combine all remaining ingredients except garlic in very large bowl; toss to coat. 4. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Divide vegetable mixture between prepared sheets. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack. 6. Roast 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 7. Reverse positions of baking sheets. 8. Add 5 garlic cloves to each baking sheet and continue to roast until all vegetables are tender and brown in spots, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 45 minutes longer. 9. Transfer roasted vegetables to large bowl and then serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Yields: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 140
Fat: 14 g
Carbohydrates: 38 g
Protein: 4 g
Sodium: 110 mg
Dietary Fiber: 8 g

Nutrition Fast Fact:

Vary your veggies for a well-balanced plate!