For picky eaters, spicing up vegetables is a sure way to add flavor and taste. Roasting the vegetables seals in flavor, caramelizing the seasonings on the vegetable. Finding the right spice and roasting style will make everyone want seconds.
Olive oil is a popular seasoning for roasted vegetables since it helps with the roasting process. For some gardeners, roasting garden-fresh vegetables harms the fresh flavors and juices in the vegetables. Olive oil encrusts over the vegetable when it is roasted, sealing in the vegetable juices. Therefore, olive oil is seen as the universal seasoning for fresh or older vegetables during the roasting process.
Garlic works well during the roasting process, even when it is only seasoning added to the vegetable. As garlic is roasted over the vegetable, most of the enzymes that produce garlic’s strong spice disintegrate. The flavoring from the garlic is then absorbed into the vegetable. However, garlic burns easily after more than 10 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees so cooks need to be careful while cooking.
Generally speaking, many different spice powders work well with roasted vegetables. Examples of spice powders include cayenne, curry or serranos. The trick is to toss the vegetables into a powder mix of the spices. Cover the vegetables first with olive oil, then combine. The spice enzymes and chemicals will be absorbed into the vegetable during roasting, and will impart crunchiness.
Citrus juices bring a refreshing and subtle tang to many vegetables. Citrus fruit seasoning with vegetables gives the eater a full palate of sour and sweet flavor. One unique way to give a citrus flavor to the vegetable is to place shaved fruit parts of lemons, limes or oranges over the vegetable as it is roasted. The hot pan will roast the fruit, giving the vegetable dish extra ingredients, and allow the juices to cover the vegetable.
References and ResourcesVegetable Gardener: Roasting Vegetables to Perfection
Culinate: Tips for roasting vegetables
Delish: A Guide for Perfect Roasted Vegetables