8 Small Ways to Make Roasted Vegetables Taste Even Better

updated Nov 10, 2020
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Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. I love how you just toss everything on a baking sheet, walk away, and come back to beautifully browned veggies that have so much more flavor than you would get with blanching or sautéing alone.

The most basic seasonings for roasted veggies are oil, salt, and pepper, but here are some other easy ways to flavor them if you want to make things a whole lot more interesting!

You can add extra flavor to the vegetables before or after roasting, depending on which method you choose. Here are our favorites.

1. Use a flavored oil.

If you usually use olive oil to roast vegetables, give a flavored oil (like garlic), nut, or even coconut oil a try instead. These oils can add an extra layer of flavor, and with some of them, like roasted sesame oil, you can just drizzle a little on the roasted vegetables right before serving to preserve some of the unique flavor.

2. Toss with citrus.

Citrus is the secret weapon that perks up all the toasty flavors of roasted vegetables with bright flavor. Use the zest and juice of limes, lemons, or oranges; remember that citrus flavors are at their most potent when not cooked, so if you really want to taste the citrus, put it on the finished roasted vegetables rather than in the beginning. You can even try roasting veggies with slices of the citrus itself for a real punch.

3. Add some cheese.

Cheese pretty much makes everything better, and that includes roasted vegetables. Toss your almost finished roasted vegetables with finely grated Parmesan, then stick them under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese. Or simply crumble salty feta or tangy goat cheese over the vegetables right before serving them.

4. Raid the spice cabinet.

Roasted vegetables are such a blank slate, which means you can and should be using those odds and ends from your spice cabinet on them. If you have a spice blend like garam masala, za’atar, or Ras el Hanout lying around that you bought for a particular recipe but are at a loss of what else to do with it, toss it on your roasted vegetables before roasting to infuse new flavor into them with minimal effort.

5. Toss with mustard.

Mustard has that perfect balance of sharp flavor and acid that can really make just about any vegetable pop. Tossing them with a spoonful of creamy Dijon or honey mustard, along with olive oil, works great — but adding a little whole-grain mustard to the situation is especially nice, as it also lends some texture to things.

6. Add a glaze.

Adding a sweet element, like honey or maple syrup, to vegetables before roasting means that sugars can caramelize and turn into a nice, shiny glaze. A glaze works especially well with earthier vegetables, like turnips and Brussels sprouts. You can also make a glaze on the stovetop while the vegetables are roasting and just toss everything together when the roasting’s done.

7. Roast with bacon.

Bacon, delicious bacon! Chop some up, toss with the vegetables, and roast all together. The bacon fat helps the vegetables brown; everything gets a smoky, salty flavor; and you’ll end up with crispy bacon bits to munch on, too. You can also use just bacon fat instead of oil to coat your vegetables before roasting.

8. Drizzle with dressings.

Salad dressings work with more than just salads! Just drizzling some of your favorite dressing onto roasted vegetables makes it a much more interesting dish — especially when the warm vegetables get a chance to soak in some extra flavor.

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