Do You Really Need to Use Oil When Roasting Vegetables?

Do You Really Need to Use Oil When Roasting Vegetables?

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Christine Gallary
Feb 23, 2015
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

Q: Recipes for roasted vegetables always say to coat the vegetables with oil before roasting. I usually skip this step and just put the diced-up veggies on a Silpat sheet.

They always turn out fine and get nicely browned, so I'm just wondering what is the real purpose for tossing everything in oil before roasting?

Skipping the oil at this stage makes cleanup a lot easier, and I just add butter or oil once the vegetable is on my plate.

Sent by Joe

Editor: Coating vegetables in oil does a few things. For one, it helps prevent vegetables from sticking to the baking sheet or roasting pan. (But since you're using a Silpat, it looks like that isn't an issue here.)

Roasting vegetables with oil also encourages extra browning and creates a richer, more toasty flavor. Lastly, the oil gets a chance to cook out some of its raw flavor and mingle with the flavor of the vegetables.

If you're happy with how your roasted vegetables turn out with your method, you should by all means continue with it! It might be a fun comparison, however, to coat half of the vegetables in some oil before roasting to do a side-by-side tasting.

Readers, do you think oil is necessary when roasting vegetables?

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