I like to eat what’s in season, believing that I derive lots of needed nutrients from the seasonal plants. Remembering that winter is a time of hibernation, and the sun, too is hibernating we often times feel seasonal depression from the shorter days or just a waning of energy. Many root vegetables live in the ground, and though they can have stems and flowers, most of these stems and flowers have died off and also gone into hibernation, returning their energy back into the ground. Therefore the plant’s energy has shifted from creating flowers into its root by storing nutrients and minerals. So, if we eat the roots of these plants during the winter, we are eating them at their fullest energy potential to help us energize through the darkness days. Check out this link if you want to read more about the health benefits of root vegetables.
This dish is one of the most simple dishes that I make, and other than chopping, there’s little prep work involved. I usually use whatever I have on hand in my fridge especially when I’m trying to clean my fridge out. Since I tend to use whatever I have on hand, the technical term for the vegetables is root crops, because as you’ll soon read, they are not all roots.
I am obsessed with researching and learning, which brought me to learn exactly what types of food are really going into this dish. I will go into more detail below, but if you do not have the same passion that I am possessed by, no worries! Just skip down to ingredients below.
A root crop is any edible, underground plant structure, thereby defining
The rest of the foods are all under the category geophytes, requiring a dormant period, and are a storage unit for the plant:
Roots – are the organs of the plant that absorbs water and nutrients, anchors the plant to the ground, and stores food and nutrients for the plant.
Bulbs – consists of layers that grow underground and store food for the developing plant.
Corms – resemble bulbs, but have a solid mass of tissue instead of layers that grow vertically underground.
Rhizomes – a shallow stem that grow horizontally underground. Off of rhizomes grow roots, and part of the plant can appear above ground.
Tubers – have leathery skin and eyes. They are underground stems that grow thick instead of long.
Catch-All Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Ingredient (here’s a sample of what you throw in there, but keep reading for step-by-step instructions):
Tubers: sweet potatos, white potatos, beets, celeriac, rutabega, etc.
Winter Squash: hubbard, butternut, acorn, etc.
Roots: Parsnip, carrots, horseradish
Bulbs: onions, garlic, fennel
Herbs: thyme, rosemary, chives, parsley
Glass Baking Dish
If you DON’T want to be creative, continue reading for step-by-step guidance below:
If you DO want to be creative, mix and match anything from the list above and skip to the directions below:
1 winter squash – peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 onion – peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
1 celeriac – peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 fennel – rinsed/dried, top part removed and bulb roughly quartered
2 sweet potatoes (or white) – scrubbed/dried and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1-2 parsnips depending on size – scrubbed/dried and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1-2 carrots depending on size – scrubbed/dried and cubed into 1 inch pieces
about 2 tbsp of fresh thyme (dried will do, but start with half the amount)
about 2 tbsp of rosemary (dried will do, but start with half the amount)
about 2 tsp of salt
about 2 tsp of pepper
extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
You’ll want to have a glass baking dish about 9×12 on hand.
Serving size: about 6-8 portions
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Throw all ingredients above (minus the olive oil) and toss in a glass baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and toss again.
3. Put vegetables in the oven, tossing them every 20 minutes for about an hour. I like mine a bit crispier, so if you like them a little al dente, then check them after about 50 minutes or so.
4. Serve hot! It makes for great leftovers, too.