Around this time of year, I love roasting veggies—it makes them so perfectly sweet and crispy-tender—but I hate cleaning up. My baking sheet always seems to require extensive soaking and scrubbing to get rid of the inevitable charred roast-y mess.
The solution? Parchment paper!
This handy stuff, typically used for baking cookies, ensures that any food slides right off.
How to Use It
Grab whatever looks good at the farmers' market: carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, butternut squash. Cut everything into roughly the same size chunks, toss in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and spices, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (They'll steam, not roast, if you crowd them too much.) Roast on high heat—but not higher than 425ºF, or the parchment could burn—stirring occasionally, 30 to 45 minutes, or until browned and caramelized. Add a few drops of good-quality balsamic vinegar for extra oomph. Then scoop up opposite ends of the parchment paper, slide some of the goodies onto your dinner plate, and toss the rest into a Tupperware for future bowls, stir-fries, pasta dinners, and salads. Place baking sheet back in cabinet, and veg out throughout the week.
The Eco Factor
Yes, parchment paper is disposable, but if it helps you on busy weeknights to squeeze in more veggies and buy less frozen food or take-out—also in disposable containers and often far less nutritious—why not cut it some slack? (It certainly beats its veggie-roasting cousin, aluminum foil, which is worse for the environment than plastic wrap.) Look for biodegradable parchment, such as PaperChef or If You Care, which you can tear into little pieces after using and toss right into your compost pile.
Ready to Roast?
Here are 5 simple recipes perfect for fall:
1. Cumin and Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2. Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Raisin Vinaigrette
3. Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
4. Herb-Roasted Squash and Jerusalem Artichokes
5. Root Vegetable Sticks with Roasted Garlic Dip