Roasted vegetables are a staple in my kitchen. But that perfect char evades many home cooks. I had a reader tell me they couldn’t re-create my Cauliflower Steak recipe. Their cauliflower came out tasty, but not quite roasted. Here are the tips I gave them for better roasted veggies:

1. Dry Them Thoroughly

Of course you should rinse the food before roasting it, but be sure to dry it completely. Water left on the vegetables will produce moisture inside the oven, thus steaming the vegetables. Skipping this step will result in vegetables that are soft and might as well have been cooked on top of the stove.

2. Space Them Apart on the Baking Sheet

When roasting a large amount of vegetables, it’s tempting to crowd the baking sheet. But you must resist the urge! Roasting requires direct contact between the food and the baking sheet in order to create a crispy surface. That crispy surface will never happen, if the vegetables are in one big heap.

3. Never Use Frozen Vegetables

While frozen veggies are a reliable shortcut in most cases, they’re not suited for roasting. As they melt on the baking sheet, they will produce liquid. Similar to tip #2, the liquid will cause them to steam in the oven instead of roasting.

4. Salt After Roasting

So you have the correct oven temperature and completely dry veggies, but your roasted dishes still lack oomph. Often times home cooks will season vegetables only before roasting. But for optimal flavor, you should apply non-salt seasonings (cumin, paprika, herbs, etc) before roasting. Then sprinkle coarse salt over the roasted veggies immediately after removing them from the oven. Not only will this amplify flavor, but finishing with flaky sea salt enhances presentation as well.

Roasting Broccoli in oven. The Handy Chef

5. Crank Up the Heat

Your oven should be at least 400 degrees for roasting most vegetables. At lower temperatures, the veggies will cook through just fine but they’ll never achieve that crispy roasted texture.

Perfect Roasted Broccoli, crisp.

Whether you plan to sit poolside or lounge on your couch with the air conditioner on full blast, an ice cold beverage is just what you need to stay cool this summer. And I’ve got just the thing…

The Ingredients

4 oz coconut sparkling water, I prefer the Waterloo brand

4 oz Ginger beer

1 Lemon

1 tsp Honey

1 thumb Ginger

Fresh mint leaves

Steps

  1. Cut two thin slices from the lemon, save the rest of the lemon for later. Peel the ginger root, then cut two slices from that as well.
  2. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into an 8 oz glass. Add the honey, the ginger slices, and 2-3 mint leaves. Muddle this mixture with a muddler, or the bottom end of a wooden spoon.
  3. Once the fresh ingredients are muddled in the glass, add ice cubes. Then pour the sparkling water and ginger beer into the glass.
  4. Garnish with the lemon slices. Enjoy!

This dish combines my two favorite things, roasting vegetables and intentionally calling vegetables “steak.” Hope you enjoy this fun twist on roasted cauliflower. Click here for a few pointers on how to achieve the perfect roasted texture.

Smoky Southwest Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower with spices and chipotle aioli.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Cumin

Salt & Pepper

Steps

  1. Slice cauliflower into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 450°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the spices and oil together.
  3. Pat cauliflower slices dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Leaving moisture the surface of the cauliflower will result in a limp cauliflower instead of a crisp crust around the “steaks.”
  4. Brush the spicy oil mixture onto each slice. If you don’t have a kitchen brush, then gently massage the oil onto the cauliflower slices.
  5. Place on a baking sheet or cast iron pan, bake for 12 minutes on each side.
  6. Finish with cilantro for a bite of freshness!

Teriyaki Glazed Cauliflower Steaks

Asian Teriyaki cauliflower steaks.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce (homemade if you’re fancy)

Steps

  1. Slice cauliflower into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Brush olive oil onto the cauliflower slices and season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Place on a baking sheet or cast iron pan, then bake for 12 minutes on each side.
  4. If you choose to make your own teriyaki sauce, as I have, then now is a great time start making that. If you’re using store bought, simply relax until your “steaks” are all done!
  5. Remove from the oven and brush the teriyaki sauce evenly over all the cauliflower steaks. Enjoy!