This is a guest post by Kelly Harjes, a new, regular contributor to our site. To learn more about Kelly, check out “Our Team” page. And if you’re interested in joining our team and helping us on Our Mission, just contact me here.
Even though Big Food doesn’t push vegetables, we all know they’re good for us. Simply put, eating vegetables can help protect our health. But did you know they can also satisfy our sugar cravings? I’m talking about roasted root vegetables, or what I call “nature’s candy.” Root vegetables are especially great during these winter months when they are inexpensive and easy to find. Oven-roasting root veggies brings out their natural sweetness and makes them easier to digest. They’re a delicious way to not only increase your vegetable intake, but also to satisfy your sweet tooth!
When you’re trying to incorporate more vegetables of any kind into you and your family’s diet, taking the time to prepare them ahead of time will help ensure your success. I’ve found this to be absolutely essential for our busy family of five. In addition to having plenty of leafy greens and fresh-cut raw veggies on hand, I like to make a big batch of roasted roots to have with various meals throughout the week.
Here’s my “Sweet & Simple” technique for Roasted Root Veggies (with a recipe to follow):
- Choose your vegetables. Some options include: sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac, garlic, onion and ginger.
- Chop into uniform, bite-sized pieces. To save time, but not money, you could buy some of your veggies pre-cut.
- Toss with extra-virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per pound of veggies) and salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (or two).
- Cook at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fork-tender and a little bit browned.
Enjoy hot or cold alongside the main dish of your choice. These also make a great vegetable option for school lunches. And if you happen to have any left at the end of the week, you can purée them into a delicious soup.
To keep roasted vegetables interesting week after week:
- Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. Pictured above is a mix of turnips, gold beets, carrots and parsnips.
- Add some fresh herbs or spices, such as rosemary, thyme or turmeric.
- Drizzle some balsamic or apple cider vinegar on top … or for a special occasion, a little pure maple syrup or raw honey.
- 5 pounds peeled and chopped root vegetables (see notes below)
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Peel and chop vegetables into uniform, bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine vegetables with ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets.
- Cook at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fork-tender and slightly browned.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, garnish with fresh rosemary, and enjoy!
Some root vegetable options include: sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac, garlic, onion and ginger. And while not technically root vegetables, winter squash and brussels sprouts also taste deliciously sweet when oven-roasted.
For another take on roasted veggies, be sure to check out Bruce’s recipe for Roasted Carrots and Broccoli with Cheese.
Kelly Harjes is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Appetite for Healthy Change™. Her mission is to inspire others to look and feel their best, feed their families well, and help improve our food system.
Kitchen Tips and Resources from Bruce:
- A couple heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets are essentials for roasting vegetables. Try to avoid the flimsier varieties since they can bend, twist, and cook less evenly over time. You can buy baking sheets from just about any place that sells quality kitchen bakeware, but here’s a link for them on Amazon and at Williams-Sonoma.
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!
- A great, non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the vegetables. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards this past summer, and I’ve been really pleased with them.