Amplify Your Roasted Vegetables With A Flavorful Oil Substitute

Most roasted vegetables get a quick toss in oil and seasonings before a stint in the oven. Oils provide an essential coating to prevent the veggies from burning or drying out, bind seasonings, and add a bit of fatty richness. However, spice or herb compound butter is the oil substitute that'll take your roasted vegetables to the most flavorful heights.

Butter on its own is one of the most delicious cooking fats, providing a creamy, sumptuous coating for everything from sauteed vegetables to grilled cheese sandwiches. Infusing butter with fresh herbs or spices to create a compound butter will supplement its dairy richness with savory, spicy, and zesty flavors. Plus, as it cooks, butter caramelizes, bringing both sweetness and a crispy crust to your vegetables as they roast in the oven.

Since butter has a smoke point lower than most roasting temperatures, you might be skeptical of swapping it out with fats like olive or avocado oil that can withstand a 400-degree Fahrenheit heat. However, you can get around this issue by using clarified butter or ghee. Clarified butter is butter that's had its water and milk solid content removed, leaving only pure butterfat. This process effectively raises butter's smoke point allowing you to use it at roasting temperatures. Plus, if you make clarified butter at home, you can season the drained, melted butter to create a clarified compound butter for your veggies.

Clarified butter flavors and vegetable pairings

Clarified butter is arguably even tastier than regular butter because you've concentrated its richness and supplemented nutty caramelized notes. Seasoning clarified butter is simply a matter of adding herbs and spices into the butter on the stovetop, which in turn infuses it. Then, you can drizzle it over prepared vegetables, tossing to combine before roasting them.

Clarified butter is a common ingredient in France, so you can use French cuisine as inspiration for butter-roasted vegetables. Flavor clarified butter with herbs de Provence to season a batch of roasted new potatoes. For a more Italian slant, you could roast eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, and tomatoes in clarified butter flavored with garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme, and sage to upgrade pasta primavera

On the other end of the spectrum lies ghee, which is the same as clarified butter and is a foundational ingredient in Indian cooking often enriched with a wide range of robust spices and herbs. Flavor ghee with curry powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper as a seasoned butter for roasted cauliflower. Sticking with spices, roast some carrots in a compound butter with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper for a zesty Mexican side dish to serve with chopped avocado, pepitas, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Or take clarified butter in a sweet direction by combining it with brown sugar and cinnamon to roast butternut and acorn squash or sweet potatoes.