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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recipe: Herb Roasted Root Vegetables

When I was a kid, the thought of eating unfamiliar sounding vegetables was worse than thought of the boogeyman that I swore lived under my bed.

A turnip? What? Um, no. Beets? Excuse me? Um, no again.

Let's face it, we like what we like. And we usually like what we're familiar with. Even as a more open-minded adult, I still find myself raising my eyebrows at foods that aren't in my regular rotation. Yup, before I tried nutritional yeast, it got a giant one-eyebrow raise (think, The Rock's People's Eyebrow).

But at least these days, I am willing to try anything once. (Well, most things. I probably will never know what lutefisk tastes like. And I'm OK with that.)

But vegetables can be really tasty, especially when roasted. The process allows the natural caramelized sweetness to come out and can make for a delicious side dish or snack.

I took a variety of root vegetables: turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots and beets. I stuck them in the oven with some thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and was pleasantly surprised when the family gobbled them all up.

Root vegetables contain loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies functioning well. Not to mention, most tend to be slower-digesting carbohydrates that keep our insulin levels stable while keeping us full for a long period of time.

Beets are particularly awesome because they contain betalains which not only give them their bright color, but also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The betalains also trigger enzymes that bind and neutralize toxic substances in the body allowing them to exit the body.

Now, it should be noted, that though root vegetables are healthy and contain many vital nutrients, you shouldn't go all crazy when eating them. I mean c'mon, it is possible to eat too much of something -- even healthy items. They are higher in starchy carbohydrates, which should be limited. Just make sure you keep your portions in check.

If you're in a rut of eating the same 'ol stuff, give this recipe a try. You'll be happy you did.

Check it out.

What you'll need:

sweet potatoes
olive oil
dried thyme
sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. I recommend using a cookie sheet or some other shallow baking pan/dish. Using a deep roasting pan doesn't give the same effect. Trust me, I've tried using a deep baking dish. While still tasty, you don't get the "roasting" result of browned and caramelized vegetables.

Slice vegetables in any shape you like (except the beets, I'll explain those later). I find that 1/2 inch to 1 inch thickness works well. Take some olive oil on a pastry brush and lightly coat the vegetables, on both sides. Then lightly sprinkle the seasonings over both sides.

Or use the method pictured below by adding about (I eyeball it, so I don't have exact measurements), 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and thyme to a plastic baggie. Add the vegetables, seal bag and massage oil mixture evenly onto vegetables. Repeat until done with all vegetables. You may need to make another oil mixture depending on how many vegetables you're using.

Place the vegetables on the foil lined cookie sheet. Be sure not to overcrowd the sheet, don't let the vegetables touch each other.

Now, for the beets. As pictured below, place beets with tops sliced off in foil. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme to beets. Completely seal the beets inside the foil.

Place all vegetables in preheated oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning the cookie sheet lined vegetables once. The beets may take a little longer. To check beets, test with a fork. If fork tender, then they are done. If you have to put any pressure to get the fork to go through, cook a little longer.


Resouce: Dr. Weil

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