When I was a kid, my mom always served a vegetable with dinner: either a fresh green salad, or a canned vegetable (generally either mushy green beans or mushy green peas with carrots). It wasn't until about age 40 that I learned how to prepare oven roasted vegetables myself. It's easy! Yes, they take time. But it's not complicated, and they are so worth it. Our family favorites are carrots, broccoli, asparagus, and potatoes. Each vegetable has a different cook time; you'll get a feel for this with repeated attempts. Don't rush it, though. Vegetables taste the best when you give them enough time in the oven for their starch to caramelize. Here are my recommendations for cook time and seasoning...
Pan Roasted Vegetables
Set your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Get a large sheet pan ready (11" x 14", also called a jelly-roll pan, it is the size of a large cookie sheet but it has a rimmed edge). Rinse your vegetables of choice, cutting off any bad spots (or eyes, in the case of potatoes).
Potatoes: Use baby yellow potatoes or red new potatoes; they have a creamy texture when roasted. Up to three pounds will fit on a large sheet pan. After cleaning them and cutting off any eyes, cut them in half, then drizzle with 1/4 cup of MCT oil or melted coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Rub the oil and seasonings into the potatoes with your bare hands to be sure that all the potatoes are coated. Arrange potatoes to be cut-side up. Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and use a metal spatula to scrape the potatoes from the pan to be sure they don't burn. At this point it's okay for the potatoes to be either cut-side up or down. Return to the oven and roast for another 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness (they should be dark golden brown all over). If your potatoes were unusually large, you may need to return them to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.
roasted to perfection!
Carrots: Peel with a vegetable peeler, and cut off both ends. Cut into 3" lengths, then cut lengthwise into segments no thicker than your pinky finger. Drizzle sparsely (a couple tablespoons for the whole pan) with either MCT oil or melted coconut oil, and sprinkle with dried thyme and black pepper. You can also use sea salt and/or granulated garlic. However, black pepper and thyme are my favorites. Roast for 25-35 minutes. Check for doneness. My family prefers the cooked carrots to have almost a blackened look. They become incredibly sweet when you roast them long enough to have some black spots. This may take even longer than 35 minutes, depending on how thick they are.
Broccoli: Rinse thoroughly and cut off any bad spots. Use only the broccoli head and about one inch of the stalk. Cut all pieces into similar size so that all pieces cook evenly. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of MCT oil or melted coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until the doneness that you prefer. We like a bit of char on the tips.
Asparagus: This vegetable takes the least amount of time to roast. After rinsing the asparagus and trimming off the tough end/stem, arrange on the sheet pan and drizzle lightly with MCT oil or melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic. Roast for about 10-15 minutes.