Roasted garlic is very versatile. Easy to make and a smart choice for many dishes, if you want to impress your guests. Use it to the max during the autumn and winter because it boosts your immunity, but don’t ignore it the rest of the year!
I have an aunt who eats raw garlic. She just peels it and eats it! She doesn’t even crush it! I get goosebumps when I hear her crushing the garlic with her teeth. Although I like garlic, I’m not as brave! I usually crush it and make garlic sauce for French fries or fried meat. I also use it with steaks or in soups. In the summer, I love to eat it fresh, rub some toast with a garlic clove and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it.
You probably know that garlic is incredibly nutritious, full of manganese, vitamins B6 and C, selenium and fiber. Garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system. It reduces the number of colds by 63 percent compared with placebo, according to Authority Nutrition. It also improves cholesterol levels, can reduce blood pressure, and it has many other benefits that can help you live longer.
With all these benefits – and many more – and the fact that garlic is delicious, it's no wonder that it's very easy to include in your diet. All you have to do is try all kinds of combos in the kitchen!
How to make roasted garlic in the oven
I recently discovered roasted garlic and from then my life has changed! Here is what you have to do to make roasted garlic in the oven. First get some garlic heads, because one won’t be enough!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Peel away all the loose outer skins around each head, but leave it intact, don’t remove the cloves. Trim the top of the garlic head (0.2-inches, 0.5 cm), to expose it directly to heat. Drizzle some olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Sprinkle some salt.
From here, you can make it in two ways. You can wrap each garlic head in aluminum foil and roast it in the oven for 40 minutes and then start checking on it. Or you can place the garlic in a small baking dish, cut side up. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and roast until the garlic skins are golden brown and the cloves are tender.
The garlic will roast in about 45 minutes, but the cooking time depends on the size of the heads, the variety, and how old they are. Thanks to the magic of the heat, garlic turns from raw, crunchy, sharp and astringent, to a creamy, soft, aromatic, caramelized, and a bit sweet taste.
I would say that roasted garlic is never too much! Still, if you roasted more than you could eat at once, you can freeze it up to three months.
5 ways to use roasted garlic in the kitchen
1. As a spread
Roasted garlic is butter-soft, and that makes it perfect as a spread. Rub it on sandwiches and pizza dough, before you add the other ingredients. You can also make bruschetta and crostini with it.
Bruschetta and crostini are what Italians call “antipasto”, which means appetizers consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. You can top the bread with other things too: tomato, veggies, canned tuna, cured meat, or cheese. Traditionally, bruschetta is made with a rustic loaf, while crostini – with baguette slices.
The soft roasted garlic is an excellent appetizer when combined with bread or crackers while you're waiting for your meal to be ready.
2. Mix it into mashed potatoes
Have you ever tried mashed potatoes with roasted garlic? Because after you will, I promise you this dish will be a star on your table at least once a week. While you’re roasting garlic, boil some potatoes. Then, heat butter and some heavy cream until they melt together, add garlic and the boiled potatoes and mash everything together. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.
When I eat a salad as a side, I like it to be fresh and light, with just a few drops of olive oil and red wine vinegar. But when I make a large bowl of salad and I eat it as a main dish, I choose rich and dense dressings. Because the roasting makes the garlic sweeter and less astringent but keeps its strong flavor, I like to add it to many dressing recipes.
For example, you can mix roasted garlic with extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated fresh ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix them with a fork just before you pour the dressing over the salad. Or, if you want to make a larger amount, blend until smooth, then cover and refrigerate for up to three days.
You can play with the ingredients as much as you want. Let’s say you skip the ginger and the soy sauce, but you add instead, to taste: honey, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, or Tabasco sauce.
4. Mix it with hummus
Usually, hummus is a dip made with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh garlic. But I like to make it with a full head of roasted garlic, sumac, which is a Turkish spice, and a few leaves of fresh basil. You can also add roasted garlic to guacamole, pesto, and salsa.
5. In soups
I can say with all my heart that a warm soup is a smart choice anytime, but in the autumn I can vouch for it! A vegetable soup takes the flavor of its dominant ingredient. Unless you add roasted garlic to it. Adding this subtle flavor makes any soup more aromatic, a bit sweeter, and a bit smoky.
Warning: Do enter the kitchen while your garlic is roasting in the oven and enjoy that amazing smell!