As I write, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, with the December holidays right on its heels. If we’re blessed, our tables will be covered in all kinds of rich, delicious foods. If you’re searching for a last-minute addition to your holiday meals, I suggest a roasted vegetable or two.

Roasting is my favorite way to prepare vegetables year-round, holiday or not. Most vegetables roast very well. This time of year, my favorites are sweet potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green beans (you can’t ever have too many favorite vegetables, right?).

No matter the vegetable, the process of roasting is essentially the same. Wash and chop your vegetable to the desired size (smaller will cook faster). Toss in a light coating of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any desired spices (onion powder and garlic powder are always my first choice). Spread evenly on a baking sheet, ensuring the pieces are spread out and not touching. Roast at 350° to 400° until golden brown and fork tender. Stir about every ten minutes to ensure even cooking.

The time and temperature will vary depending on the vegetable you use. Firmer vegetables with less water content (e.g. sweet potatoes) will require more time and a higher temperature than more tender vegetables (e.g. green beans).

This side is easy to throw together to round out your holiday table. It is also lighter than some of our traditional holiday favorites. Olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Since we are adding salt to taste, roasted vegetables are likely to be lower in sodium than other prepared sides. And of course, fresh vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, meaning that no matter which vegetables you choose, they will balance out your meal nicely.

For more information on healthy eating and cooking, contact UGA Extension in Banks County: 706-677-6230 or susie.burton@uga.edu. You can also visit our website.

Susie Burton is the Banks County Extension 4-H/FACS Agent.

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