Oil-Free Roasted Vegetables LOW and SLOW

Who doesn’t love roasted vegetables? Ok…Silly question. We spent quite a few cooking sessions trying to find an oil-free roasting method that yields flavorful and crispy roasted results, regardless of the vegetable chosen for the task. The trick is steam prep the vegetables, use a cast iron pan and low slow heat.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish

Cuisine: American, Indian, Mediterranean

Keyword: oil-free, roasted 

Author: Pretty Wild Vegan


  • Stainless steel pot with steamer basket and lid
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Large metal spoon


Any selection of vegetables that you like, in any amounts that you like. Preparation is the same for all the veggies but the cutting style and size varies depending on the water content of the vegetable. The dryer veggies may take longer to steam than the other, softer veggies. So it can help to cook the veggies in batches, as in all tubers steamed separately from cauliflower and zucchini separately from onions.

Dryer, starchier or more fibrous vegetables such as

  • beets
  • carrots
  • celery root
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • Cut to 1/2 inch dice.
  • Place these vegetables in the steamer basket and cook to fork tender. Remove them from the basket when they are done. Set aside.

Softer vegetables, containing more water such as

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • onions
  • bell peppers
  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • squashes into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
  • Cut onions into 1inch chunks. leaving the layers nested.
  • Cut broccoli and cauliflower so that each floret is about 1.5 inches across, leaving the smaller stalks attached to the florets.
  • Place these vegetables in the steamer basket and cook to just barely fork tender. Remove them from the basket when they are done. Set aside.
  • Flavorful liquid such as vegeable broth of spiced vinegar.


Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat a cast iron skillet on top of the stove until water dances on the surface when it is splashed on the skillet. When the skillet is hot, dump the hot, steamed veggies into the skillet. The veggies should sizzle and sear a bit when they hit the hot pan. Arrange them so they lay in contact with the plan as far as possible. Splash your favorite flavorful liquid (broth, vinegar, etc.) on the veggies in the pan and place in the preheated oven. The roasting is low and slow. As the veggies roast, they will begin to brown. Flip the veggies in the pan after about 30 minutes. Add more of the chosen flavorful liquid after flipping to add flavor and prevent burning. It can take up to an hour or maybe longer, depending on the extent to which the vegetables are pre-steamed. So be patient. The results are phenomenally worth it.

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