Note that this is a guest post written by my seriously awesome foodie friend Darryl. Enjoy!
When it’s cold outside, I crave what most people refer to as “comfort foods.” Those old-fashioned, stick to your ribs kind of meals…roasts, stews, and creamy casseroles. Foods that are cooked all day and produce mouth-watering aromas that make it difficult to wait for dinner time. Foods that heat up the kitchen to a temperature that is welcome when it’s frigid outside. Foods that are delicious and warm you from the inside. While delicious, these foods are often packed with tons of fat and calories that lead to me having some extra “insulation” by the end of the winter. Not something I want!
I have been making roasted root vegetables for years, but never thought of them as a comfort food until the other day. I’m a teacher and we often do cooking projects to practice life skills and to try to increase the repertoire of foods the students will eat (or at least will try). Not knowing what to make, I searched my kitchen and found I had several random root veggies. Hence, we made roasted root vegetables! The aroma coming from the kitchen drew adults and students out of their classroom, hoping to snag a taste of whatever we were cooking. It seemed as though I had a comfort food in the making.
The veggies were devoured in no time! One of my foodie co-workers was literally groaning with delight as he savored each bite. Several people asked for the recipe. All of them were amazed at the simplicity of the dish. However, they were even more amazed at the level of flavor without tons of fat or nasty, artificial ingredients.
If you can turn on and oven, peel a potato, and cut vegetables in to cubes, you can certainly master this recipe!
Roasted Root VegetablesPrint Recipe
- A combination of your favorite root vegetables. You can use whatever you’d like, but here is a suggested list:
- 1 potato (baked potato sized)
- 2 carrots
- 1 large parsnip
- 1 turnip
- 1 beet
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 large onion, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem (or 1 tsp. dried)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon fresh parsley or chives, chopped
Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven BEFORE preheating the oven to 450 °F. DO NOT spray the baking sheet with cooking spray! It will burn.
Peel and chop all root vegetables into equal-sized pieces, approximately 1 inch cubes, and place in a large mixing bowl (It is essential to cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces to ensure even cooking). Add onion, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss together until all vegetables are coated with oil and seasonings, similar to the way you would toss a salad.
DO NOT remove the baking sheet from the oven. Pull out the oven rack and pour the oil-coated vegetables onto the hot baking sheet. This is what will brown your vegetables. Bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, flip the vegetables with a spatula and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (or until vegetables reach desired doneness. The vegetables should be soft all the way through with golden-brown crispiness around the edges.) Time will vary depending on the variety of vegetables and the size of the vegetables.
Remove from oven, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives (if desired).
Experiment with the vegetables you use. Try potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, kohlrabi... whatever you can find. I love to mix things up and add odd colored versions of traditional vegetables like using purple potatoes. Also feel free to try things like using fennel instead of onion, different herbs, or adding other veggies like brussel sprouts or cauliflower.
I hope you give these a try. This dish makes for a great vegetarian meal. It can also be a hearty side with any kind of meat for those of you who are carnivorous. I personally love pairing these with a simple, roasted pork tenderloin. Feel free to experiment with this recipe. It is merely a guide. based on what I had lying around at my house. The techniques will remain the same, but the vegetables can easily be substituted. Vary the veggies, herbs, or spices you use…I do! If you’re not really sure about some of the veggies, try making it with all potatoes (use about 6). I had to start my family this way and then gradually sneak in the “weird” vegetables.
Do you have any comfort foods that you love on a cold winter day? Do you have recipes that make your family flock to the kitchen when you make them? If you do, please share!