How to Roast Garlic + 7 Delicious Ways to Use It
Roasted garlic is one of my favorite ways to jazz up a recipe. But you don’t even need to use it in a recipe! You can totally just slather it onto a piece of bread and enjoy it just like that. If you don’t know how to roast garlic, it’s ridiculously easy and it’s a fantastic way to use a head of garlic that’s been sitting on your counter for a while.
Making Roasted Garlic
The first step is to lop off the top of the garlic. Use a sharp chef’s knife to accomplish this. You can peel off a few layers of the papery skin before doing this, but I’ve forgotten this part before and it made absolutely no difference in the end. So: peeling papery skin? Up to you!
Now you’ve exposed all those fragrant, wonderful garlic cloves. Place the head of garlic on a piece of foil with the root side down and drizzle the top with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then wrap the garlic head tightly in the foil, kind of like you do with a baked potato.
When it comes to roasting garlic, I use a lower temperature than what I usually use for roasting vegetables––350ºF. I typically roast at 425ºF, but I’ve found that sometimes the garlic isn’t uniformly soft when I roast it at this temperature. Place the wrapped garlic head on the oven rack and let it bake until your whole kitchen smells like roasted garlic.
I don’t time my roasted garlic––I really do just check on it when the kitchen starts to smell garlicky, probably around the 40 minute mark. And the amount of time in the oven depends on your preferences and how you plan on using the garlic, too. If you plan on mashing it into a paste, 40 minutes or so may be just right. If you’re tossing whole garlic cloves into a pasta dish, go a little longer until they’re beginning to brown and caramelize on the edges.
What to Do with Roasted Garlic
Aside from going the slathering-on-bread route, there are a lot of ways to use roasted garlic in your meals. Below are some of my favorites.
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Whole roasted garlic cloves can be used as a pizza topping, but mashed cloves can be used instead of traditional pizza sauce.
Just like with pizza, you have options here! Whole cloves are a flavorful addition to just about any pasta dinner, but mashed roasted garlic cloves can be stirred into store-bought pasta sauce to give it a boost, whipped into ricotta for a creamy white sauce, or whisked into a skillet with olive oil, then tossed with pasta and vegetables.
Whisk mashed roasted garlic cloves into the egg-and-milk mixture for some extra flavor or add whole cloves to the quiche with the rest of the vegetables.
We make polenta for dinner all the time and I love whisking in roasted garlic paste after I’ve poured in all of the cornmeal. (Get my roasted garlic polenta recipe by subscribing to Green Plate Club.)
Once you’ve had mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, you’ll never go back to plain mashed potatoes again. Some minced rosemary is nice too.
Sauces and Dressings
So many sauces and dressings benefit from the addition of roasted garlic. Cashew cream, oil-and-vinegar salad dressings, tomato sauce, béchamel, you name it.
Burgers and Sandwiches
Instead of mayo, spread roasted garlic on a burger bun. Roasted garlic is also amazing on a grilled cheese. This week’s vegetarian meal plan includes my recipe for Roasted Broccoli and Garlic Panini.
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