Root vegetables, like carrots, rutabaga, beets, cassava, kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips, celery root, turmeric, and jicama (and more) get their name from how they grow. Roots grow underground and absorb significant nutrients from the soil they grow in – making them some of the most nutrient dense vegetables around. They contain a variety of antioxidants, are great sources of vitamins B, C, A, and minerals such as iron. They are plentiful in fiber to keep us satisfied longer following meal time. There are many options to replace your average potato with a different root to get more variety, flavor, and nutritional benefit. There is some controversy in the vegetable world that “stems” from naming garlic and onions bulbs rather than roots, but these also provide significant flavor, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits. They are the perfect flavor duo to pair with roots.
When selecting quality root veggies, the harder the better, with the stems of any greens attached being crisp and bright. Often, you can eat the greens too. Don’t be afraid to try a beet green salad with roasted beets on top! Root veggies are best stored in a dark, cool, humid environment (hence the name “root cellar”), but if you don’t have that luxury, store in the refrigerator inside of a paper bag. Depending on the veggie, they can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, grilled, or roasted. Simply roasting root vegetables is an easy way to enhance the flavor of the veggie, but sometimes it is fun to add other flavors in too. Check out the recipe below!
Tangy Maple Roasted Roots (Serves 4)
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (aka EVOO)
1 lb (total) medium carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and/or yams – washed well
¾ tsp salt *optional
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp VT pure maple syrup
¼ c chopped roasted cashews
Preheat oven to 375F
In a large skillet melt butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add carrots, salt/pepper, and cook until browned, turning occasionally. Remove skillet from heat and add vinegar and maple syrup, shake to coat. Transfer to oven (in heat proof skillet or on rimmed roasting pan), roast 6-8 minute until tender. Top with cashews and serve.