A Complete Guide to Roasting Vegetables

Learn which vegetables are best for roasting and how to boost their flavor while preserving their powerful nutrients which keep us healthy.

Roasting vegetables is one of the most comforting ways to enjoy them during the holiday season. Not only do they taste good and remind us of Thanksigivng and Christmas joy, they also have vitamins, minerals and other powerful nutrients which keep us healthy. Roasting creates an interesting reaction which mellows out the bitter vegetable flavor while enhancing their natural sweetness. Learn which vegetables are best for roasting and how to boost their flavor while preserving the nutritional value. 

What does roasting do to vegetables?

Roasting is one of the most appetizing ways to prepare vegetables. It minimizes the bitterness while bringing out a carmelized, sweet and savory taste. What’s the secret? A reaction called Maillard. 

The Maillard reaction happens when protein building blocks, called amino acids, interact with sugars when heated (1). This browning reaction is present in a seared steak, baked bread or roasted marshmallows. We picked our favorite vegetables for roasting, which creates that delicious charred characteristic.

Best vegetables for roasting 


Roasting broccoli makes it tender with an almost sweet taste. 

How to Prepare: 

  • Wash thoroughly with water
  • Remove the stem into pieces and cut the remaining part into florets

What to Add: 

  • Add a bit of oil, salt and pepper and mix
  • For an added nutritional boost, roast broccoli with chopped garlic and a bit of lemon juice for heart health benefits. The lemon juice also gives some vitamin C which will increase the absorption of the energy boosting mineral iron (2)

Temperature and Time: 

  • 400℉ (205℃)
  • Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the florets are browned and crisp on the edges

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts come from the same family as broccoli, and cauliflower, called cruciferous vegetables. These are all stars when it comes to heart health benefits and their nutritional content are suggested to help to prevent some forms of cancer (3). When Brussels sprouts are roasted, they get a crispy texture that makes them taste almost like they are fried – yummy!

How to Prepare: 

  • Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any discolored outer leaves
  • Cut in half 
  • Lay them on a sheet pan 

What to Add: 

  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • For a savory flavor, try some garlic powder 

Temperature and Time: 

  • 400℉ (220°C)
  • Roast for about 35-40 minutes 


Cauliflower is high in filling fiber and packed with nutrients such as anti-aging antioxidants. Roasted cauliflower makes for a perfect alternative to some carbohydrate dishes such as rice or even pizza crust. Roasted cauliflower can also make a perfect side dish! 

How to Prepare: 

  • Wash and trim cauliflower head
  • Remove the tough portion of the stem
  • Cut into about ½ inch slices 

What to Add: 

  • Coat with olive oil and sea salt 
  • Try it with pine nuts for a nice crunch
  • Go for a sprinkle of paprika for an interesting flavor boost 

Temperature and Time: 

  • 375℉ (190°C)
  • Bake for about 25-35 minutes 


Squash comes in all shapes and sizes. These seasonal staples are great sources of vitamin A and C which help enhance our immune system and improve our skin health. Roasting squash is one of the best and easiest ways to cook it. It comes out of the oven tender and caramelized. Try this delicious roasted and stuffed squash recipe: #Onefoodtwoways Butternut Squash

How to Prepare: 

  • Using a big, sturdy knife, cut the squash in half (lengthwise)
  • Scoop out seeds and stringy pieces from each half  
  • Place squash half, cut-side up, on a baking dish

What to Add: 

  • Brush with olive oil or melted butter 
  • Season with salt, pepper
  • Try a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg for sweet and spicy flavor 

Temperature and Time: 

  • 375℉ (190°C)
  • Roast about 45 minutes 


You may not have typically considered beets as a roasting option, but these fiber-rich root vegetables help promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut all while helping to support heart health. No need to peel them before or after baking, just make sure to rinse them properly! 

How to Prepare: 

  • Scrub off any dirt
  • Trim tops and bottoms 
  • Cut in half
  • Lay on a baking sheet 
  • Use tin foil to seal them in after seasoning

What to Add: 

  • Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper 
  • As a tip, serve them with oranges for a citrusy companion

Temperature and Time: 

  • 375℉ (190°C)
  • Roast for about an hour

How to roast vegetables 

Roasting vegetables is a healthy way to serve them since it doesn’t require lots of oil or butter when compared to other methods such as frying. All forms of cooking can destroy some nutrients such as immune boosting vitamins C and energizing B vitamins, but roasting or baking is better when compared to boiling, since some nutrients can leak into the water. 

A possible concern about roasted vegetables is that charring can cause a potential cancer causing chemical. However, according to the Cancer Research UK, charred root vegetables or roasted potatoes will not increase your risk of cancer (4). 

To play it safe and retain most nutrients, aim for a more moderate cooking temperature, such as 400℉ (205℃). In order to keep the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) it's best to add a bit of vegetable oil after they are cooked. Including some fresh vegetables in your meals can also help ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Discover different ways to cook and prepare your vegetables with Lifesum.

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