Oven-roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness, and this is particularly true in the case of roots. You can vary the vegetables suggested here, as well as the amounts. And do explore the variations and ways to serve this, both as a main dish and salad following the recipe box. The beauty of this simple recipe is in the flexibility of its presentation.
To make this a main dish, serve on a bed of cooked brown or green lentils as shown in the photos in this post, or on a bed of quinoa mixed with black or small red beans.
Another idea: Transform the dish into a delicious warm salad. Toss the vegetables with a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic or wine vinegar, or a bottled or homemade vinaigrette. Serve with a simple bean dish or bean salad on the side.
While the oven is running hot, roast a batch of your favorite plant protein — tofu, tempeh, and/or seitan, coated with barbecue sauce or teriyaki marinade. Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 2 medium beets (red and/or golden), peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (see note)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
- 2 to 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 large or 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
- Pinch each cinnamon and nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh rosemary leaves to taste, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Prepare all the vegetables as directed, making sure to slice everything fairly evenly, about 1/2-inch thick. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle in the oil and maple syrup, then sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together.
- Transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled large roasting pan (line it with parchment if you’d like). Bake for 30 minutes, more or less, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The vegetables should be tender on the inside and touched with golden brown on the outside.
- Toward the end, sprinkle on some fresh rosemary leaves if desired. Season with salt and pepper; then transfer to a covered serving container and keep warm until serving.
Peeling raw beets is challenging. Partially cooking them, either in a saucepan covered in water, or in the microwave (about 2 minutes per raw beet) really helps. Cook just until you can pierce through about a quarter inch into the beet. Let the beets cool to room temperature (if you need to expedite this, plunge them into a bowl of ice water). To minimize the mess when cutting, peel the beets over the trash or compost container, then slice or chop them on a cutting board covered with wax paper.
See the variations following the recipe box.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 184 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 154mg Carbohydrates: 36g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 19g Protein: 3g
- Though they break the root vegetable theme, Brussels sprouts are a terrific addition, as shown in the photos. It adds a nice contrasting flavor and color. Add a half pound, more or less as desired, trimmed and cut in half.
- Stir in ribbons of collard greens or lacinato kale, about 10 minutes before the vegetables are done.
- Experiment with other root vegetables, including ordinary white or golden potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, chiogga beets, rutabagas, and daikon radish.
- Add some thinly sliced red onion to oven-roasting vegetables for even deeper flavor. Add at the beginning, along with everything else.
Photos by Hannah Kaminsky