The Magical Cooking Technique That Will Get You to Eat Your Veggies


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/11/2008 4:00 PM   :  341 comments

Recently, I asked you which healthy food you'd like to learn to eat. The responses were diverse and plentiful.

Aside from liver, vegetables were the most common response: from tomatoes to celery, eggplant to green peppers.

While I have blog posts planned for specific vegetables, I wanted to share with you a magic trick I learned a few years ago.

You think you hate vegetables? This foolproof and rather quick cooking technique will have you gobbling up those loathed vegetables and begging for seconds.

So what's the secret?


Roasting concentrates the natural sugars in vegetables and caramelizes the outside, giving those humble vegetables a sweet, rich flavor, a crispy coating and a soft interior.

The technique is simple.

  1. Empty out your crisper.
    One recent night, I roasted:
    2 handfuls of radishes
    2 carrots
    1 large turnip
    1 large potato
    1 zucchini
    1/2 an onion
    Those first three vegetables are on my boyfriend's will-not-eat list, and radishes and turnips aren't high on my list of favorite vegetables, either.
  2. Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. (I like to make them bite size, but you can leave them larger.)
  3. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Cover the pan with foil for easy clean up.)
  4. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper and dried herbs (dried rosemary, thyme and oregano are good; so is cumin), then drizzle on some olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons).
  5. Put them in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then placed them under the broiler for another 5 minutes or so (keep a close eye on the broiler so your vegetables don't burn).

Result: My boyfriend and I ate every last piece of vegetable, with zero complaints. Seriously. He ate carrots. All of them.

Roasted vegetables are magical. Picky children, persnickety husbands and particular friends can't resist them.

And if all else fails, serve them with ketchup! (Just kidding!)

More tips:
  • Coat vegetables in your favorite vinaigrette or sprinkle on a flavored vinegar before baking. I like tarragon vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or lemon juice are good, too.
  • To more evenly coat your vegetables, place vegetables in a bowl and then drizzle on dressing, or herbs and oil. Mix well with your hands.
  • Almost any vegetable works: Onions, peppers, garlic, squash, zucchini, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celery, fennel, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, kohlrabi, mushrooms, okra (leave them whole so they don't get gummy), pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, radishes… you're only limited by your imagination.
  • Bitter or pungent vegetables such as radishes or turnips become sweet and mild when roasted.
  • Make sure vegetables are roughly the same size so they cook at the same time.
  • Leave peels on vegetables for added nutrition.
  • Mash vegetables after roasting (add a bit of skim milk or fat-free broth to thin) for a jazzed-up, flavor-packed substitute for mashed potatoes.

Find more recipes for roasted vegetables here.

Have a recipe for roasted vegetables? Share it below?

Photo of acorn squash taken by me

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  • 341
    I've never make roasted vegetables, this sound really good, especially after reading some of the post I will try this tonight - 8/10/2015   12:50:16 PM
  • 340
    I love this idea! I eat mainly raw veggies, and there some that sound just ick to me, but roasting them increases the likelihood that they will be tasty to me! - 7/28/2015   4:13:47 PM
  • 339
    I love eating roasted vegetables sprinkled with garlic salt and black pepper. I usually roast whole gloves of garlic alongside the vegetables. Delish :-) - 5/21/2015   12:50:53 PM
  • JULES3819
    I LOVE brussel sprouts this way! I usually mix them with red onion and asparagus. (Split a whole onion in 8ths or 10ths for a wedge, seems to roast and not burn as much as slices would because the sprouts and asparagus is larger) Cracked black pepper, garlic and sea salt, drizzle olive oil and bake for 20 minutes @ 425. Yum! I got my kids to eat them even! - 2/4/2015   2:13:03 PM
  • 337
    Love all roasted vegetables except for radishes (which still smell like garbage) and Brussels sprouts (which also are stinky) - my opinion :)

    I use a little bit of olive oil and have a lovely no-salt spice mix. I think it has like flaked garlic, onion, other little green things, and roast everything up. Yum. - 1/6/2015   5:31:03 PM
  • 336
    Roasted vegetables are like candy vegetables. - 12/16/2014   11:17:43 AM
  • 335
    I always thought I hated cauliflower. I'd eat it but only because it was "good" for me. Tried it roasted @450 with olive oil & garlic.
    Ohmygoodness, what a difference. 4 people ate 3 heads of cauliflower & were looking for more. :-) - 9/12/2014   8:38:15 PM
    Roasting is the best! I spray mine with a Misto and sprinkle with pepper and garlic salt. - 5/12/2014   10:02:03 PM
  • 333
    I love smashed vegetables! Ummumm! - 1/30/2014   1:11:43 PM
  • 332
    sorry, you could cover turnips and squash, rutabaga, sweet potatoes with chocolate, whipped cream, ice cream , $100 dollar bills and I still could not gag them down,, I will however, eat any other veggie and any fruit!! - 5/7/2013   2:23:27 PM
  • 331
    I'll try this for my picky fiance. He claims he wants to help me eat healthier but turns his nose up to any veggie. Here goes something, I hope. LOL. - 8/26/2012   2:20:20 PM
  • ANNLEE0110
    I roast brussel sprouts all the time like this. If you think you hate brussel sprouts, I dare you to try them roasted with a little olive oil and garlic. Slice them in half and throw them in a pan. In fact, I double dog dare you. They are delicious!!!! - 8/13/2012   5:52:21 PM
  • 329
    Very timely article with the garden started to produce. I LOVE roasted carrots...could eat a whole pan myself. Recently discovered I actually can eat asparagus and enjoy it because it was roasted. Just spray a little olive oil on it and sprinkle with minced garlic. MMMMMM - 8/3/2012   5:52:39 PM
  • 328
    I usually roast two pans of veggies at a time. I usually cut them in half (half a pepper, tomato, etc) and then do the coating with a small amount of oil and herbs in a ziploc bag. Put cut side up on a sprayed cookie sheet and roast at 325 at least an hour. Carrots are my hands down favorite, but I can't eat pizza unless I roast a panful of roma tomatoes and whirl them for my sauce along with the garlic paste I make from the roasted cloves. I put a handful of them with the oil/herb treatment in a foil packet in the oven so they don't dry out. Others just do them in the bulb with the tips cut off and squirt out the paste after roasting. Too messy for me. But delicious either way.

    So if you have someone who cannot eat raw veggies, I bet their digestive system won't balk at the roasted ones!! - 8/3/2012   3:16:38 PM
  • 327
    definitely trying this on the bbq - 7/27/2012   5:54:17 PM
    And there's so much you can do with roasted vegetables (be sure to make enough for leftovers!). A few ideas:

    - make a roasted veggie pizza, topped with goat cheese or feta
    - toss them with pasta, finishing with a sprinkle of goat cheese/feta or a squirt of lemon juice
    - wrap them in a tortilla or spread on a sandwich/pita with lots of hummus (my favourite; especially delicious if the roast mix includes red peppers)

    - 7/7/2012   11:01:39 AM
  • 325
    A wonderful idea especially for the summer grilling season. - 6/23/2012   9:13:43 AM
  • 324
    Oh thank you so much for this! I tried roasted egg plant the other day. It was ok but I think I left it in the oven to long. It was kinda dried out. I did cube it either I sliced it thin. I have been racking my brain to try to think of ways to get more veggies in our diet. My husband recently started the Adkins diet & he can only have meat & veggies right now. This will be perfect. Ready to try this tonight! - 6/22/2012   12:29:55 PM
    Thank you for the article!! I will definitely try this. - 5/25/2012   2:25:46 PM
    I love veggies but always have a problem with getting my kids to eat them. I definately will be trying this technique! - 5/13/2012   9:58:22 AM
  • 321
    This sounds really good. I like roasted veggies, but they are normally with the broth from my roast, chicken, or pork, great flavor, very tender I'll give this method a try. - 5/2/2012   2:52:26 PM
  • 320
    Grill cauliflower with olive oil and rosemary. DO IT! - 4/23/2012   5:20:33 PM
  • 319
    and 'roasting' in the grill works awesomely well also!
    - 4/10/2012   9:54:57 AM
  • 318
    I was going to write something up and then I found this. Roasting is sooooo good! - 3/25/2012   12:58:04 AM
    Though I like roasted vegies, unfortunately there is evidence that they are not the healthiest. The high temperatures cause negative changes to the nutrients. It is better to steam or stir fry with a little bit of oil to al dente (lightly cooked, still quite firm) and add some tasty and healthy seasoning or light sauces. A little bit of healthy fat helps your body to utilize the nutrients and there are very healthy herbs and spices, etc. that you can add to make it very tasty. - 3/24/2012   3:16:09 AM
  • 316
    My teenage daughters BEG me to roast vegetables for supper!! So addicted to this technique! - 3/21/2012   4:49:01 PM
  • 315
    I love my vegetables and eat them all the time in a multitude of varieties. I maintian a plant-based animal product. But I just cannot figure out how to make artichoke so that I enjoy them. Maybe it's just not meant for me to eat them. - 3/21/2012   12:37:37 PM
    Wow! Isn't it amazing what a big difference a little change makes. I've been roasting root vegetable the way you described for a long time. It's about the only way my family will eat some of these veggies. But it never had occurred to me to use the same technique and seasonings on other vegetables as well. Duh!

    By the way, my family's all-time favorite roasted veggie is fresh spring asparagus, with olive oil and rosemary. I use a spatula to flip and redistribute them after about 15 minutes, and they're too tender to put under the broiler, in my opinion, but they still get nicely browned. It's the only way they all will eat it! - 3/21/2012   11:07:56 AM
  • 313
    Thank you, Stephanie! I've never tried roasting vegetables because I was so afraid to ruin them. This looks so easy! I can't wait to raid my fridge and roast a batch for dinner! - 3/10/2012   12:15:53 PM
  • MARILYN1954
    Loved this blog. Never thought to roast veggies. Sounds great. I am going to try this. - 3/9/2012   6:21:54 PM
  • 311
    After giving birth to my daughter 16 years ago, I've absolutely hated broccoli. This is the only way I can eat it now besides blending with a fruit smoothie! - 3/8/2012   2:53:29 PM
  • 310
    I roasted some root vegetables this past summer (potatoes and turnips) with some rosemary and basil, my bf was very impressed (I don't have a history of being a great cook). - 9/28/2011   7:50:49 AM
  • 309
    Thank you! That sounds amazing & easy! I will try this! - 9/1/2011   5:18:02 PM
  • TSADAMS11267
    I love love love this idea and will be trying it this week on my picky family (myself included in the pickiness!) =)
    Thank you so much for posting! - 8/28/2011   9:12:43 AM
  • 307
    The first time I tried roasting cauliflower I couldn't believe how wonderful and sweet it was! My veggie-resistant son ate over half a head of it and wanted more the next day. Never thought of trying radishes. On the to-do list now. Thanks for the great ideas! - 8/26/2011   1:10:59 PM
  • 306
    Wow. Great tip KACEYCOFF! I love your soup recipe idea and useing leftovers to make another dish the next day is great for busy dieters. I will definately try this in the winter months. Also like the idea of using vinegars...never tried it but will experiment with this as well. Thanks spark chefs! - 8/17/2011   7:09:25 AM
  • 305
    We have been roasting our zucchini and our asparagus but the combining of veggies is so exciting! I'm going to try this tonight! Thanks for the suggestions and spices list. Smile. - 8/16/2011   6:04:07 PM
    Roasting sounds great! I grill all my veggies on the BBQ grill in the summer---Any and All veggies. I use salt, pepper. garlic powder, and Olive oil. Everyone loves them even the Veggie haters! - 8/16/2011   8:10:09 AM
  • 303
    I thought why not I cut up radishes, parsnips, turnips or maybe it was rutabaga, beets, carrots, potatoes and onions. What a pleasant surprise.. we enjoyed them... though my daughter still thinks that beets taste like dirt - I liked them. - 8/8/2011   1:32:33 PM
  • 302
    I couldn't agree more! I roast ANY vegetable. I often just use a little kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper, and I do toss them with a bit of olive oil -- but you really need only a li'l bit for a LOT of veggies. They are amazing. You can even roast kale -- yes, KALE (or chard or collards or any leafy green) -- they turn out amazingly crisp, like a cross between nori and potato chips. I AM NOT KIDDING!!! TRY IT!! :) - 7/28/2011   9:27:58 PM
    I have always loved parsnip, sweet potatoes and kohlrabi roasted with olive oil and rosemary. I will have to try some of the rest of my veggies roasted in oven. Chili powder is good on them as well. - 7/28/2011   12:58:45 PM
    That sounds good. I have always been a chicken at trying new vegetables. I will definately try this. - 7/28/2011   11:56:56 AM
  • 299
    I love your idea of mixing the veggies and cutting them into similar sized pieces. I've been roasting them one type at a time but I LOVE this idea and now have a plan for tomorrow, Friday, night. Smile. - 7/28/2011   10:19:00 AM
    Roasted cauliflower is one of my favourites, never thought of roasting radishes can't wait to try them. - 7/27/2011   11:28:56 PM
  • SKYMOM25
    thanks for the recipe! - 7/27/2011   8:48:19 PM
  • 296
    You make them sound good. It's worth a try! - 7/27/2011   7:18:29 PM
  • KIRNY1
    I got to tell you! I don't see many guys on this site but I sure am going to give this roasting a try. Sounds very interesting! If it will only help me drop about 80 to 90 lbs. - 7/27/2011   6:34:20 PM
  • 294
    I love roasted eggplant. Now I'm excited to try the radishes and kohlrabi...I never even thought about roasting those. I'm picking some up at the grocery store today! - 6/26/2011   9:35:34 AM
  • 293
    I love roasted vegetables. I put them in a zip bag to coat with oil and seasoning. I season with Greek Seasoning . Try coating Cauliflower with lite mayo and a little Olive Oil. Just enough to coat . Season however you like. Again I like Greek Seasoning for this. I like for my cooked vegetables to be a little firm. - 6/19/2011   1:50:33 AM
  • 292
    It's surprising how good vegetables are this way... even cauliflower. Only way I eat them. - 6/17/2011   1:05:17 PM

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