Unleash Super Flavorful Veggies With An Unexpected Marinade Hack

Roasted root vegetables with herbs
Roasted root vegetables with herbs - Magone/Getty Images

Now that autumn is upon us, we have every reason to lean into all varieties of hearty and delicious seasonal produce. Next to making a big pot of all the veggies vegetable soup, you might choose to take advantage of your favorite in-season root vegetables and make a delicious pan-roasted side dish to pair with your protein of choice. Apart from roasting or pan-frying your favorite veggies in a bit of oil and salt, you may often crave more flavor and decide to lean on a perfectly balanced marinade to give your vegetables an added flavor boost. Since most vegetables tout a milder taste, marinades are able to impart a wide range of different flavor compounds. Yet, you probably didn't know that the best time to marinate those chopped carrots and sweet potatoes is after cooking them.

While there's certainly nothing wrong with letting your precious produce swim in an evenly balanced marinade before cooking, adding an even blend of oil and vinegar mixed with the necessary sweet, salty, and savory components after cooking helps maintain the texture of your cooked vegetables, not to mention, providing them with an added pop of flavor. The best part about marinating veggies after they've been cooked is that any precious leftovers are guaranteed to taste better after a day or two. Before we unveil the convenient versatility of post-cooked marinated vegetables, let's talk more about why this particular technique is more practical yet gives your day-to-day meals more heightened flavor.

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Marinating Cooked Vegetables Has Less Room For Error

Roasted sweet potato wedges on pan
Roasted sweet potato wedges on pan - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

If you're wondering how long you should be marinating veggies before cooking, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer since marinating time is dependent upon the types of vegetables you're planning to cook. While softer veggies like mushrooms and peppers should be kept under 20 minutes, root vegetables and those with a sturdier structure can marinate overnight. However, you don't have to worry about marinating times when you decide to add a flavorful sauce to cooked vegetables.

When vegetables are roasted in a high-degree oven or cooked in a skillet with some oil, caramelization occurs. For vegetables, this means their inner moisture is absorbed and their natural sugars are released through heat. When cooked, these sugar compounds become more complex through browning and textural development. If you marinate vegetables before cooking, you don't have that cooked outside barrier to prevent your marinade from potentially altering the structure of your vegetables.

By adding a flavorful sauce or marinade post-cooking, you can actually leave the marinade on your vegetables until you decide to enjoy them without worrying about their texture becoming compromised. Not only that but cooked veggies soaked in a delicious marinade for a day or two will gift your palate a ton of delicious flavor. Beyond the ease of adding your chosen marinade to vegetables after cooking, how can doing so help you make a number of different meals throughout the week?

Marinated Cooked Vegetables Can Upgrade A Wide Variety Of Simple Meals

Roasted vegetables in salad with seeds
Roasted vegetables in salad with seeds - Haoliang/Getty Images

Now that you know marinades can sit amongst your cooked produce without negatively affecting your veggies' overall texture, you're well on your way to upgrading any basic meal in a flash. In the past, you may have liked to roast your veggies in salad dressing for a wonderfully caramelized bite. Yet, by marinating your veggies post-cooking, your homemade marinade of choice can serve as both a marinade and a convenient flavorful salad dressing all in one. Just use some of that extra marinade and add those tenderized veggies to a plate of greens with some protein and you have one tasty yet conveniently prepared meal.

Also, just because you marinate after cooking doesn't mean you can't reheat marinated vegetables. Once veggies have been dressed in your marinade of choice, either refrigerate them until ready to use or toss them in a frying pan until the marinade has started to carmelize and your vegetables become thoroughly heated. Paired with a soft cheese and a handful of roasted nuts, marinated veggies also make a delicious appetizer. Having a simple batch of roasted then marinated vegetables in your fridge is a great way to elevate any dish ranging from a complicated salad to a weeknight oven-baked chicken breast.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.