Ina Garten has worn many hats during her time. She used to work for the White House in the 1970s, but after falling in love with French cuisine, she left the government behind and learned to cook in Paris, before opening a food store (the original Barefoot Contessa) in East Hampton, NY. And of course, this has paved the way for her to become one of the most-loved celebrity chefs in the US.
Thanks to her hit Food Network show and blog (both also named after Barefoot Contessa), Garten is renowned for her hearty, tasty recipes—many of which have become go-to dinnertime classics for millions of Americans. And while not all of her dishes are vegan, Garten is, without doubt, a master of cooking vegetables. Here’s what you need to know about roasting delicious vegetables like one of the pros (including recipe ideas).
How to roast vegetables like Ina Garten
Earlier this year, healthy recipe platform Eating Well made a list of Garten’s top tips for roasting vegetables. First, the publication noted that chopping vegetables like zucchini into large pieces was fine, and that’s because when they cook, they shrink quite a bit.
It’s also important to space your vegetables out evenly, with a little bit of a gap between them, so that they roast properly (instead of steaming). Make sure to season well, with salt, pepper, and oil (as well as herbs and garlic, if the recipe calls for this), and always toss the vegetables mid-roast, too, to make sure everything cooks evenly.
Learning how to roast your vegetables well is incredibly useful—in fact, it’s guaranteed to become a cooking technique you can rely on all year round, with many different types of produce. In fact, most vegetables, including broccolini, potatoes, sprouts, and peppers, arguably taste even better when they’ve been roasted. For tips on each of these and more, find a few of Garten’s best recipes below.
Try it for yourself: 7 roasted vegetable recipes
1 Roasted Broccolini
Broccolini is very similar to broccoli, but it has a slightly milder, sweeter flavor, and the stalks are much thinner and longer. When roasted, it goes beautifully with quite a few main dishes, including firecracker tofu, vegan teriyaki salmon fillets, and noodles.
In this simple recipe from Garten’s cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey, the chef recommends trimming two inches off the end, before slicing thick stalks in half. After that layer them across two sheet pans (with plenty of space between them), drizzle with olive, and season with salt and pepper, before tossing. After 15 minutes in the oven, you’ll be left with deliciously “crisp-tender” broccolini.
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2 Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are a favorite for most people, especially when they’re perfectly crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, and seasoned with a flavorful blend of garlic, pepper, salt, and parsley, like this recipe—from the cookbook Barefoot Contessa Parties—notes.
You can enjoy this delicious recipe with a number of different mains, but we recommend serving it alongside this garlicky herb-roasted whole cauliflower, for example, or this aromatic herbed vegetable roast.
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3 Orange-Roasted Rainbow Carrots
While most of the carrots you see every day are orange, there is such a thing as rainbow carrots, and they are as colorful as they are delicious. In this recipe from the cookbook Cook Like a Pro, Garten maximizes the flavor by using grated orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, and fleur de sel (a very pure form of sea salt from France). Once you’ve cooked these carrots, you’ll never want to go back to regular steamed vegetables ever again.
Serve them with dishes like this baked tofu and roasted vegetables, for example, or vegan garden fried rice. Or bookmark and save for the holiday season, when you can enjoy them alongside this vegan beef roast.
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4 Crispy Roasted Kale
Kale is a delicious salad vegetable, there’s no doubt. But it also tastes amazing when it’s roasted, too. In fact, it’s arguably the most flavorful way to enjoy this leafy green. Again, the key to getting this just right is to season generously, and space out the kale well. “If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp,” Garten says in this recipe, taken from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.
5 Roasted Butternut Squash
In Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?, Garten lays out her go-to method for roasting butternut squash. It’s simple, all you need to do is dice up the squash, season well (with oil, thyme, salt, and pepper), toss thoroughly, and then roast (don’t forget to give it another good toss halfway through!).
6 Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Okay, so tomatoes are technically a fruit and not a vegetable, but they’re included on this list because, in cooking, they’re often treated like a vegetable. Case in point: they are ultra-flavorful and delicious when roasted, as this recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties! demonstrates.
7 Balsamic Roasted Baby Peppers
Fresh thyme, lashings of olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar are the key to making these roasted baby peppers taste next-level amazing—and this recipe, taken from the cookbook Go-To Dinners is the proof.