Why You Should Roast Turkey On Top Of Your Vegetables

Thoughts of roasting a 16-pound turkey may send a shiver down your spine. Roasting the star of the show may seem like an overwhelming feat for most, making it a task that's often handed off to a perennial pro. What size pan do you need? What temperature should you set the oven? To baste or not to baste? Do you need a rack?

Not only does that formidable fowl spark fear and take all day to roast, but it also inhabits a lot of valuable real estate in your oven. This leaves less room for the good stuff — all the fixings and dessert.

Time, temperature, and basting may be subjective factors, but it turns out you don't need that giant roasting rack you only pull out once or twice a year. Whether you find yourself roasting rack-less or you're just looking for a kitchen hack, all you need to do is hit the produce aisle. In the process, you'll kill the proverbial two birds ... er, bird ... with one stone.

Save a rack, gain a side dish

Roasting your turkey on top of a bed of vegetables spares you the need for a rack. It also provides a delicious side dish and frees up space in your oven. A traditional roasting rack allows for air to circulate around all sides of the piece of meat. Remove the rack and, as culinary scientist Jessica Gavin points out, the meat of the bird will sit and steam in its own juices. This will most likely result in the bottom overcooking and sticking to the pan, or an underbelly of mushy skin. Raising the poultry on a layer of vegetables prevents this, and it allows for the vegetables to soak up all the turkey drippings' flavor.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when opting for a base of vegetables over a rack. Sungrown Kitchen suggests using heartier root vegetables, as they will withstand the time and temperature in the oven better than above-ground vegetables. Ensure they are all diced on the larger side and of similar size so they roast evenly and don't burn too quickly.

Who wouldn't want an extra side at the table for your turkey dinner, plus an extra empty rack in the oven for that pumpkin pie?