Transform Roasted Vegetables From Bland To Bold With Chili Crisp

Chili crisp is a centuries-old Chinese tradition that has become a culinary sensation, surpassing the sriracha craze preceding it. Made with spicy dried chilies and peppercorns, soybean paste, seasonings, oil, and a dash of sugar, chili crisp turns a basic bowl of fried eggs or steamed rice into a complex, gourmet meal. While you've probably drizzled it over stir-fries or noodles, chili crisp will also transform roasted vegetables into the boldest versions of themselves.

Roasting vegetables is an easy way to enhance their underlying flavors while also adding sweet caramelized notes. Furthermore, roasting vegetables creates tender, soft insides with slightly crisp, charred edges. While this may sound like a sufficiently tasty transformation, using chili crisp on your roasted vegetables will add yet another layer of texture and flavor.

True to its name, chili crisp has a higher ratio of minced or crushed dried chilies to oil, resulting in a delightfully crunchy texture. As a flavoring agent, chili crisp is at once spicy and savory, bursting with umami from the fermented soybean paste and MSG. The spicy, savory profile of chili crisp will complement those sweet caramelized notes and the bitter vegetal flavors in vegetables brought out by roasting. Plus, you get added crunch to contrast the tender and chewy oven-roasted textures of the vegetables.

How to incorporate chili crisp into your roasted vegetables

As a chili-infused oil, chili crisp is an easy addition to or even substitute for the seasoning and oil combination used to coat vegetables before roasting them. You can create a chili crisp-spiked roasting oil in a separate bowl or pour all your ingredients over raw vegetables before tossing and blending into evenly oiled veggies.

An acidic component like vinegar or lemon juice would balance the heat and bring some vibrance to your roasted vegetables. A blend of chili crisp, vegetable or olive oil, salt, and lemon juice would be a delicious and simple roasting oil recipe for a well-balanced and flavorful dish of roasted asparagus, zucchini, and corn. If you want to create the ultimate crispy crust, you can add Parmesan cheese or panko bread crumbs to the mix. Roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower would all be perfect candidates for a cheesy, chili crisp breading.

Russet potato wedges would taste delicious tossed in chili crisp, avocado oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and oregano. You could also drizzle chili crisp and oil over whole garlic cloves to achieve the ultimate spicy, umami, caramelized aromatic to squeeze into mashed potatoes, soups, and cream sauces. For a sweet and spicy vegetable roast, make a honey chili crisp glaze with a squeeze of orange juice for roasted carrots or sweet potatoes. You could even spike a maple-cinnamon roasted butternut squash or pumpkin recipe with chili oil for a delightfully spicy kick.