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Family Central: Getting your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Steamed broccoli has been outlawed in my home. And really, I don’t blame the boys for feeling this way. There’s just something about the words “steamed vegetables” that make us feel like we are forcing ourselves to be healthy. And eventually, our self-discipline flies out the window!

My family’s relationship with vegetables improved dramatically when I started preparing them the way food writer Francis Lam wrote about when he was with Salon.com. Francis is now a features editor for Gilt Taste and is one of the most enjoyable food writers I know, not to mention his practical attitude to time spent in the kitchen.

Francis writes that once he began to roast vegetables and no longer just steam or sauté, he realized that “you can roast pretty much any vegetable — broccoli, asparagus, string beans, whatever — with the same method, with fantastic results.”

And I couldn’t agree more. From bell peppers and corn to broccoli and beets, roasting vegetables brings out a deep, caramel-like flavor you just can’t beat. All you need is a little olive oil, salt, pepper and high heat in your oven.

The best part may be that my children now ask for broccoli and asparagus…and even Brussels sprouts. Enjoy!

Francis Lam’s Method for Roasting Vegetables

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Make sure vegetables are all the same size, more or less.
  3. In a big bowl, combine vegetables with a good coating of high-quality olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Spread on a baking sheet in one layer, making sure not to crowd.
  5. Place in the oven on the middle or top rack.
  6. Listen for a sizzle, about 10 minutes.
  7. If vegetables are browning on the bottom, go ahead and flip vegetables over. If not, roast a couple more minutes before flipping.
  8. Check every 5 minutes until vegetables are well-browned and tender, flipping occasionally.
  9. If vegetables have the color you want but are not tender, reduce heat to 350°F and sprinkle with a little water. Continue cooking until fork-tender.