Something to Make This Weekend (And Eat with Quinoa): Roasted Roots

I love to roast vegetables.

Cauliflower… brussle sprouts…sweet bell peppers… asparagus.

Now in this depth of winter, however, where locally grown fresh vegetables are hard to find, I’m gravitating towards the abundance of roots: carrots of every color, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, colorful potatoes (red, white, purple), rutabagas.

Carrots, Fingerling Potatoes, and Parsnips

Carrots, Fingerling Potatoes, and Parsnips

Roots have taken front and center for many of our weekly meals:

…tossed with fresh chopped parsley as a side for some roasted chicken, and served with a little chimichurri (or ketchup) for dipping

…simmered with a little chicken broth, a can of white beans, diced onions, and fresh parsley and served over quinoa

…eaten alone as hearty snack between meals

…or, like this (what I’m eating as I write this):

Roasted White Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Greek Yogurt, & A Drizzle of Warm Honey

Roasted White Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Greek Yogurt, & A Drizzle of Warm Honey

Here’s 5 tips for working with roots:

1) Organic or non-organic? According to the EWG (where you’ll find the guide to pesticides in produce), no root vegetables are part of the ‘dirty dozen’, which means buying organic isn’t necessary. (This is helpful considering the weight of these items; buying non-organic is often a significant cost saving.)

2) To peel or not to peel? I don’t peel my roots, but I do recommend giving them a good, vigorous scrub-down with a clean kitchen wash towel and some warm water. (The skins have tons of nutritional benefits, and I think they help the roots maintain a better texture when roasted.)

3) Serving size? Make double the amount you think you’ll need and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They make for an instant super-meal anytime of day.

4) Chopping tip: You can roast various roots together, just be sure each root piece is similar in size. This will help them roast through evenly.

5) How to roast perfectly every time: Give the roots a good scrub with a clean kitchen rag and warm water. Rough chop (all in an even size) and toss with a little olive oil, a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, and a dash of black pepper. Placed single-layer on a metal cookie sheet, and roast for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. 

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Tell me: what your favorite root beyond the basic potato and carrot?

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