Paul has been passionate about preparing, cooking, and eating healthy food for over 30 years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
While there are a number of downsides associated with roasting foods, including longer cooking times and limitations on suitable food types, roasting does also have a number of big advantages.
Foods that are roasted are often healthier, tastier, look better, and have a more appealing texture, when compared to food prepared using other cooking methods.
Preparation for roasting normally involves putting the food in a pan or on a rack before it's exposed to the dry heat of an oven or other heat source.
It's important that all sides of the food are cooked evenly. This is typically achieved by circulating hot air around the meal. Alternatively, the food can be rotated on a spit or rotisserie.
This article lists and looks at 10 positives of roasting foods.
10 Advantages of Roasting Foods
- Less added fat
- More nutrients are preserved
- It's tastier
- Creates an appealing texture
- Produces succulent and tender meat
- Requires minimal interference
- Improves appearance
- It's versatile
- Necessary for powdering
- Produces meat juices
Let's look at each benefit of roasting in more detail below.
1. Less Added Fat
One big reason that roasting is seen as being healthier than other cooking methods, such as shallow- or deep-frying, is that minimal amounts of oil need to be added to the food. This results in meals that are lower in fat and calories.
2. More Nutrients Are Preserved
While applying heat to foods will always tend to destroy some of the nutrients, more of them are preserved with roasting than with most other cooking methods. This is particularly true for vegetables.
3. It's Tastier
Roasting is generally a fabulous way to create tasty meals and deliver deeper, more permeated flavors. It does this through employing the Maillard reaction and taking advantage of the natural sugars within the food to create a sweeter, more concentrated taste.
4. Creates an Appealing Texture
While the exact effects depends on the particular food in question, roasting tends to give the food a crusty outside and a softer inside. This makes for a more appealing textural experience, whether it's a crispy joint of meat with tender and juicy flesh, or potatoes with a crunchy outer shell and fluffy interior.
5. Produces Succulent and Tender Meat
Provided that you know what you're doing, roasting is a wonderful way to cook flavorsome meat and poultry dishes that are succulent and tender. There are a range of techniques for achieving this, including: basting, larding, barding, and marinating.
6. Requires Minimal Interference
One of the great appeals of roasting is that once you've done the preparation, you can leave the cooking process with only minimal interference. This means that you can go away and do something else and come back later to find a finished meal.
7. Improves Appearance
The browning effect caused by the Maillard reaction improves the roasted food visually and makes it more appealing. While this is especially true for meat dishes, it also applies to vegetables.
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8. It's Versatile
There are so many great foods that are suitable for roasting, it would be impossible to list them all. Pretty much all forms of meat, most solid vegetables, as well as many nuts and seeds, are suited to this cooking method.
9. Necessary for Powdering
Certain foods are roasted before they are powdered. Cumin is a prime example, but there are a number of others. Roasting for powdering is a particularly common preparation method for seeds and nuts.
10. Produces Meat Juices
One of the pleasing effects of roasting is to create a supply of meat juice. This can then be used to make a flavorsome gravy, or to enhance the taste of the poultry or meat.
What Is Roasting?
This method involves enveloping the food in hot, dry air to cook it evenly on all sides. The heat is usually generated by an oven or an open flame, although other heat sources can also be used.
In essence, roasting is one of the easiest cooking methods. It enables the heat to do all the work and usually requires minimal involvement once the process is underway.
Roasting utilizes a process known as the Maillard reaction, which browns the food and gives it a sweet, caramelized taste.
What Is the Maillard Reaction?
This is a chemical reaction that is promoted when hot, dry air is used to cook food. Non-enzymatic browning occurs due to the proteins and/or amino acids in the food reacting with sugars. The Maillard reaction alters the appearance, flavor, and aroma of the food.
7 Common Types of Roast
Below are seven foods that are often roasted. Usually they need to be brushed with an oil, such as butter or olive oil, to maintain the food's moisture.
- Beef: Perhaps the most classic of all the meat roasts: tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye are all common cuts that are roasted.
- Pork: A shoulder cut, or pork loin, are particularly tasty when slow-roasted. This meat goes well with fried apples or an apple sauce.
- Lamb: Roasted in shoulder, leg, or rack form, roasting lamb is a great way to bring out its flavor. This meat is traditionally served with mint sauce.
- Poultry: Whole birds and breasts are common cuts, with the most popular birds being chickens and turkeys.
- Fish: These can be cooked whole or in fillet form, with butter, herbs, and lemon slices added to enhance the flavor.
- Vegetables: Meat-free roasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, and root vegetables being particularly popular.
- Nuts: Many varieties roast well, pine nuts being a favorite of many. Nuts are often naturally high in oil, however, and care needs to be taken that they cook evenly.
7 Essential Tools for Roasting
Roasting food does require having the correct equipment, if it's to be done effectively and safely.
Below are seven tools that every roaster should own, followed by my recommendation for a good meat thermometer:
- Roasting pans: They come in different designs and sizes and are perfect for roasting large pieces of meat.
- Sheet pans: You'll need a set of these, they're great for roasting food that doesn't contain lots of juices, such as vegetables.
- Baster: Necessary for retrieving juices from the pan, melted butter, sauces, or other liquids, that you wish to drizzle over your meat roast.
- Dutch oven: A versatile tool that every kitchen should have, mine is made from cast iron.
- Kitchen string: Needed for preparing meat and trussing poultry.
- Oven mitts: Essential for avoiding burns to fingers, hands, and wrists, when putting meals in and out of the oven.
- Meat thermometer: Necessary for ensuring that meat and poultry are thoroughly cooked on the inside.
My recommendation for a good meat thermometer
I've used a ThermoPro TP-16 thermometer for the last three years and I'm a huge fan of this device. I love its large LCD screen.
It's very easy to operate and has a magnet on the back so I can attach the thermometer to the fridge when I'm cooking. This device is versatile, hardwearing, and very accurate in my experience.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Paul Goodman