Friday, February 17, 2012

Even Kids will Love these Neon Veggies

roasted root vegetables
If you have kids (or a spouse) who claims to hate root vegetables like beets, turnips and rutabagas, this recipe will make them reconsider.  Roasting brings out a natural sweetness in root vegetables, even notoriously "unfriendly" ones like turnips.  Smaller, younger vegetables will also be more tender in texture and have a mellower, more kid-friendly flavor--plus, you won't need to peel them (other than the onions) and can preserve more nutrients by keeping the skins on.  If you can find sweet onions like Vidalia or Texas Sweet brands, use them here.  And there's no reason not to include parsnips, too--my produce market didn't have any, which is the only reason I didn't add them.

The Bag Holder
The Bag Holder
Especially if you choose not to peel them, make sure you thoroughly wash and scrub the root vegetables.  Be careful handling the cut beets:  The same purple juices that provide the bright "neon" colors to this recipe will also stain your kitchen counters, clothing and fingernails.

The weights and ingredient quantities are merely suggestions based on what I used, and can be modified as desired.  The herbs I used are ones that we like, but you can certainly use different herbs (or fresh herbs if available).  One final suggestion: If you do have kids who would normally refuse to eat root vegetables, just call these "Neon Veggies" when you serve them, instead of using their common names.

When I made this recipe, I mixed everything up in a gallon resealable plastic bag using The Bag Holder, a nifty new product I find myself using every day in my kitchen.  If you don't have The Bag Holder, you can make this the "old-fashioned" way in a large bowl or baggie.

marinating root vegetablesIngredients
2 medium onions, peeled & into large chunks
1 lb rutabaga, trimmed & chopped into large chunks
2 medium carrots, trimmed & chopped into large chunks
1/2 lb turnips, trimmed & chopped into large chunks
1 lb beets, trimmed* & chopped into large chunks
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried savory
1/4 tsp ground pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or in a resealable plastic bag. If using a bowl, carefully stir with a large spoon or spatula until all the veggies are evenly coated with oil and seasonings.  If using the bag, seal the bag while pressing out excess air, then shake until all the veggies are evenly coated with oil and seasonings. If you have kids, they might enjoy taking turns shaking the bag and watching as the veggies start to change colors from the beet juice.
recipe for roasted root vegetables
Before roasting

Spread the veggies onto a large broiler pan or baking sheet in a single layer and place on middle rack in oven.  Roast at 400°F degrees until very tender and starting to brown at the edges--about 30 to 45 minutes--stirring occasionally (I first stirred after 25 minutes, then twice more before they were done after a total roasting time of 45 minutes).  Makes 4 to 6 side servings. 

*Note: Beet greens are tasty and nutritious, so don't throw them away! Simply rinse thoroughly & shake off excess water, trim off any tough stems, and cook like you would kale or other such dark, leafy greens. Better yet, stay tuned for a spicy beet greens recipe that I'll be posting in the next few days!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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