Have you ever taken a baking dish full of lovely roasted root vegetables out of the oven only to find that not only are they somewhat bland, but some are overcooked and some are underdone? If the carrots are perfect then the sweet potatoes are mushy. If the beets are fork tender then the carrots and parsnips are dried out. What to do? And how to get some zing into those root veggies?
Do roasted root veggies remind you of anything in particular? Do they bring to mind family dinners with many people gathered around the table? Maybe Thanksgiving? Or maybe it is just the two of you? If it is just the two of you, I bet that you made enough to have leftovers for days and days. Oh … leftovers. Does your heart beat faster at the mere mention of leftovers?
Choose your root vegetables carefully:
One secret to making the best roasted root veggies is to choose vegetables that will all roast to fork-tenderness in the same amount of time. This applies to roasting any combination of vegetables. Unless you are willing to add veggies in stages, choose parsnips and carrots and beets (chopped to about half the size of the carrots and parsnips). Or you could roast above ground vegetables like Brussels sprouts with sweet potatoes or cauliflower with broccoli.
Set the oven to the optimal temperature:
Set the oven to the optimum temperature so that the veggies caramelize. My preference is to roast them at 400 degrees F.
Baste often and don’t crowd your veggies:
In order to make sure that the oil and lemon juice coat every surface of your cut up veggies, you need to stir them around a few times as they roast. This will ensure that the veggies caramelize. Once the vegetables start to soften, you want to baste rather than stir. Stirring the veggies when they are soft can cause the vegetables to break into pieces.
Resist the urge to heap more and more veggies into the baking dish. For one thing, it will be hard to stir them around exposing each piece to the wonderful lemon and oil combo. For another, the vegetables will not caramelize properly if they are smothered under heaps of their relations.
Impart zing to your roasted root vegetables:
Another secret to the best roasted root vegetables is to season heavily. If you aren’t sure if you have added enough herbs …. add more! Don’t skimp on the rosemary or garlic and make sure that you use lemon juice since it can mean the difference between ho-hum and yummy.
To salt or not to salt … that is the question:
Loren Cordain, founder of The Paleo Diet states that salt is not part of a paleo diet. See “Sea salt: between the devil and the deep blue sea”. After reading this article I think that I may have to take a long hard look at the amount of salt that I use.
If you adhere to the AIP, do you include salt in your diet? Leave me a comment. I would be interested to see how many of us use salt.
Food to Heal Ourselves
Perfectly roasted root vegetables
20 minPrep Time
1 hr, 20 Cook Time
1 hr, 40 Total Time
6 large carrots cut on the diagonal in 1 inch chunks
6 large parsnips cut on the diagonal in 1 inch chunks
3 medium to large beets chopped into pieces about half the size of the carrots and parsnips.
1 lemon juiced (about 2 -3 tablespoons)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 very large cloves garlic minced
2 level tablespoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine chopped vegetables in a large 13 by 10 inch baking dish.
If desired, pulverize the rosemary in a spice grinder.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and rosemary to the baking dish.
Leave the garlic out for now.
Stir the veggies in the oil mix ensuring that all the veggie pieces are well coated.
Roast for about an hour and 20 minutes stirring every 20 minutes.
At one hour baste the veggies rather than stirring to prevent the softened veggies from breaking apart.
Check with a fork to ensure that the veggies are cooked through.
Once the veggies are fork tender, add minced garlic to some of the oil in the bottom of the pan. Put the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes until garlic is translucent but not brown.
Mix garlic and veggies carefully so as not to break apart the veggies.
1. Carrots, parsnips and beets can be peeled or not as desired.
2. Leave the minced garlic until the end.
As seen on Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable #142