Crisp fall days might mean we are saying goodbye to fresh tomatoes (😞), but there’s a consolation prize—and it’s a big one: it’s roasted vegetable season! As anyone who grew up eating boiled Brussels sprouts and then discovered the joys of roasted Brussels sprouts knows, roasting vegetables intensifies their flavor and gives them a delightful crispy texture. When it comes to how to roast vegetables properly, the pan you choose is key—here’s what we look for to use in our Test Kitchen and a few of our favorite brands. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune for a pan for roasting vegetables—and a good one will last for ages. Most of us at EatingWell are still using pans we’ve had since college, and they’re well worn but going strong.
Related: Roasted Vegetable Recipes
Think Big: When choosing a pan for roasting vegetables, it’s key to choose one that lets your veggies spread out. Overcrowding the pan causes the vegetables to steam instead of roast, and nobody wants that. A large rimmed baking sheet is perfect for roasting vegetables—if you don’t have one, a roasting pan (like the kind you’d cook a turkey in) works well too. Food features editor Carolyn Malcoun likes pans from Chicago Metallic, like this one. Our Test Kitchen manager Breana Killeen seconds the recommendation of Chicago Metallic, and adds Williams Sonoma and Nordic Ware pans to the list. I have also found great simple aluminum sheet pans (at great prices) at restaurant supply stores.
Consider a Dark-Colored Baking Sheet: “I like my roasted vegetables to have lots of crispy browned bits (but without being mushy!),” says EatingWell magazine senior food editor Devon O’Brien. “Dark-colored baking sheets are best for browning fast, so I always roast veg on my black baking pan, like this one from Calphalon.
If I am roasting a smaller amount of vegetables, I often use a cast-iron pan, such as one from Lodge, which makes for wonderfully crispy and browned vegetables. Try this with Brussels sprouts and potatoes, in particular.
Be Cautious about Coatings: In the Test Kitchen we generally prefer sheet pans that do not have a nonstick coating. “I never go nonstick with anything I use with high heat, and my sheet pans are workhorses so I want to be able to broil without worrying about the coating,” says Killeen. If you want to facilitate cleanup, Malcoun recommends investing in a Silpat instead of using nonstick. (Read more about Silpats). Alternatively, look for a nonstick pan made with ceramic, and be sure it can withstand high heat (the Calphalon one above fits the bill).
Once you’ve invested in a good pan for roasting vegetables, see our article on How to Clean Baking Sheets to be sure it’s always ready for that next round of roasted veggies. Happy roasting!
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