The classic Thanksgiving menu is a veritable root veg celebration: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, candied yams, roasted carrots. Turkey Day is behind us, but the time to feast on root veggies is now.
Root vegetables are starchy tubers and taproots (bulbs and rhizomes are often thought of as root veggies, too). They’re one of the world’s staple foods. As the days and night turn from chilly to downright cold, there are fewer rainbow-bright options for in-season fruits and veggies. Which is where roots come in and save the day.
Celery root, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, beets…perhaps unglamorous, but highly delicious. They’re also insanely healthy: full of the good-for-you kind of starch (complex carbs, which take a long time for your body to break down–delivering sustained energy), fiber, Vitamin C and phytonutrients. Most are low in fat and calories and contain beta-carotene and essential minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and small amounts of iron. Go, root veggies!!
But all this would be useless if they weren’t also extremely tasty and versatile. There’s so much to do with a bunch of carrots (or beets, or parsnips). Soups are a no-brainer–the sweet starchy veggies impart body, flavor, and oomph. Potatoes aren’t the only mashable choice. I love cooking carrots and sweet potatoes til tender, then blending the mixture in the food processor with some creme fraiche and nutmeg. Braise turnips with their greens (the greens are flavorful, wonderful, healthful) and apples. Bake parsnip “fries”–just slice thin and roast with EVOO, salt, garlic, and rosemary. Or try these classic chateau potatoes.
Roots are a good friend to pasta. A bowl of penne with beets, turnips, parmesan, and lemon zest will make any tummy happy.
Roots take on a lovely, candy sweetness when roasted. Here is the simplest of recipes, one that I will use all fall and winter long:
Sweet & Simple Roasted Roots
- Whatever root veggies you love, peeled and diced in a similar size. (Think celery root, carrots, parsnips…)
- Fairway Olive Oil, for drizzling
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place veggies on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange in a flat layer on the pan.
Roast for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are golden brown and soft but not mushy. Allow to cool to room temperature and eat as a snack, or serve them as a side dish with just about anything.