Easy Roasted Rainbow Vegetables ~ this super easy sheet pan side dish wakes up your dinner table with a pop of healthy delicious color ~ let’s banish those boring beige meals once and for all!
I might be in the minority here, but I’m all about the sides when it comes to holiday meals. I’ll dutifully fill my plate with a little bit of everything, just like my mom taught me, but when it’s time to dig in, I go straight for the sides. And to be honest, unless I’m head chef, I’m usually a little disappointed in the offerings. But there are so many beautiful colorful vegetables in the produce aisle right now, there’s no excuse for bland side dishes.
A platter of roasted rainbow vegetables can go a long way toward brightening up that dreaded ‘ beige plate syndrome’ that can happen at the holidays (ahem…turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and biscuits!)
I made my first Thanksgiving supermarket run yesterday, and I had a special mission in the produce aisle ~ to pick up a rainbow. I chose:
- Red: red bell peppers
- Orange: kabocha squash, baby carrots (also choose yams, sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squash)
- Yellow: golden beets, yellow bell peppers
- Green: baby asparagus, Brussels sprouts (also choose green beans, broccoli)
- Blue: blue potatoes
- Purple: red beets, Japanese eggplant
- Magenta: watermelon radish (also choose red onion)
- White: baby parsnips (also choose turnips, white button mushrooms)
Don’t get me wrong, I love meat. In fact I just signed on as an ambassador for the Certified Angus Beef® brand, so I’ll be bringing you lots of it in the coming year (I’m so excited!) But I’m an equal opportunity eater, and I love my veggies, too. I think they deserve the same respect and care you’d give a fabulous prime roast.
Roasted vegetables are such a boon for busy cooks, whether you’re making a regular meal or a holiday feast, because a hot oven does most of the work. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the veggies, and all you need to add is some good olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of whatever herb or spice you’re in the mood for. Today I’m using red pepper flakes and dried oregano for a Mediterranean flair.
TIP: Aside from choosing pleasing colors, try to cut your veggies in different shapes for variety. Just be sure to keep them all relatively similar in mass so they’ll cook more or less evenly.
Ok, enough teasing, I know what’s on your mind…sure these rainbow veggies look gorgeous BEFORE they go into the hot oven, but what do they look like when they come out?
They come out with vibrant color, in some cases intensified by the cooking, and perfectly caramelized in spots. All that’s left is to transfer them to your largest platter (maybe the turkey can give it up for one year?) tuck in a few sprigs of fresh herbs, and serve. They’re already seasoned!
TIP: You can roast these up to several hours ahead, and then warm, loosely covered with foil, in the oven before serving.
As a general rule of thumb, 2 standard baking sheets filled with a single layer of veggies will feed about 8.
- 1 red bell pepper cut in rings
- 1 yellow bell pepper cut in fat strips
- 5 blue or purple potatoes, scrubbed and cut in chunks
- 2 red beets, peeled and cut in small wedges
- 2 golden beets, peeled and cut into small wedges
- 1/2 small kabocha squash, cut in half, de-seeded, and then into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 2 cups small Brussels sprouts (cut larger ones in half)
- about 16 baby asparagus stalks
- 1 watermelon radish, sliced and cut in half moons
- several baby parsnips, peeled (you can use larger parsnips, cut in strips)
- 8-10 baby carrots, peeled (you can use larger carrots, cut in strips)
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, about 1/4 cup
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Set oven to 400F
- Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and toss to lightly coat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer on two baking sheets. Put the denser vegetables like beets, carrots, and squash, on one sheet because you will want to cook them a little longer than the others. Arrange the rest on the second baking sheet. Sprinkle all with crushed red pepper flakes and oregano.
- Roast for about 30-40 minutes, rearranging or flipping the vegetables once or twice during cooking. Remove when the veggies are tender but not mushy.
- Serve right away.
- Note: if you want more browning on the vegetables, place them under the broiler for the last couple of minutes, but watch them carefully so they don't burn.
Make it your own ~
- You don’t need the entire rainbow to make a colorful statement with roasted vegetables. Try combining 2 or 3 for a nice effect, like blue potatoes and Brussels sprouts or green beans and red peppers.
- You can cut everything into bite sized pieces and mix them together if you like. The cooking time will be shorter.
Don’t forget to pin these easy Roasted Rainbow Vegetables
Here’s some more edible rainbow inspiration ~
- Rainbow Summer Rolls
- Rainbow Chicken Skewers with Spicy Pesto Sauce
- Rainbow Salsa
- Spicy Rainbow Slaw
- Rainbow Layer Cake
- Marbleized Chocolate Bark
- Rainbow Popsicles
- Rainbow Veggie Sandwiches
- Rainbow Broccoli Salad
- Rainbow Veggie Noodle Salad