Whether I roast my vegetables on parchment paper or directly on the baking sheet has nothing to do with a recipe or a technique and everything to do with laziness. I make a quick calculation in my head: Which will take more effort—cleaning that oily baking sheet later, or bending down, opening the drawer, and then cutting a sheet of parchment paper now?
Since I'm all about living in the moment (or, um, minimizing only the most pressing pain-in-my-butt), I usually choose to roast sans lining (which, yes, means more de-greasing later on).
But, in terms of vegetables, does how I prep the pan make a difference?
It turns out—at least in our experiments—that my whimsical decision-making is paying off (or at least, in the case of reliable roasted vegetables, not doing me any harm). Unless you're roasting something delicate, or looking for particularly blonde slices and chunks, how you line your pan for a standard batch of roast potatoes is not going to make a huge difference.
When we roasted four similarly-sized, similarly-oiled batches of radishes, turnips, and carrots for Roasted Spring Roots with Horseradish Thyme Butter, we were surprised by how hard it was to deem one tray as being "best-roasted." Try to spot some distinctions in the baking sheets below—it's hard!
But scrutinize the image below, and you may be able to convince yourself of some subtle variations. I did!
Curious as to whether there exists a standard recommendation, I did a bit of cross-referencing:
What's a home cook—and a lazy-but-picky one at that—to do? Faced with few definitive answers, here's what I've deduced (and I hope you'll share your own findings in the comments below!):
When do you line pans for roast vegetables and when do leave them bare? Tell us in the comments below!