Some notes on roasting vegetables…
Roasted vegetables are a wonderful sweet and savory taste experience. After trying many different combinations of vegetables, I’ve found that the trick to mastering roasting is for each vegetable to be cut to the right size so they will be tender at the same time and not having to keep them all cooking because one is not tender yet. After some experimenting, I found that daikon radishes (white and purple and probably green too), parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes all consistently cook fine when cut no more than an inch by a half and inch. Beets, rutabagas, kohlrabi, parsley root, and turnips are the ones that need to be cut no more than a half an inch. If it all goes right, the onions are slightly caramelized and all the vegetables come out sweet with only a hint of the naturally bitter undertone left in the vegetables that have them.
Doing vegetables this way is really fun and goes along side lamb or beef roasts or burgers, barbecued steak, roasted chicken or turkey and scrambled eggs — just about everything. Ideally, they need to be eaten right away.
I’ll be posting a series of combinations of roasted vegetables and will be putting this introduction with each of them hoping it will help everyone become successful at these really delicious and pretty side dishes.
Roasted Golden Beets, Parsnips, Carrots and Daikon
The amounts of each of the cut up vegetables will vary depending on the size you buy. A total of 6 cups of vegetables, plus the onions, works well for an 18 by 13 sheet pan. Don’t overcrowd of the vegetables will steam instead of caramelizing.
- 1 red onion, cut in wedges
- 1 beet, peeled and cut in small 1/2″ pieces
- 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced diagonally in 1/4″ slices
- parts of different color carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally in 1/4″ slices
- daikon or other radish, peeled and cut in 3/4″ pieces
- 4 – 4 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
Place the onion wedges in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of oil depending on the size of the onion and mix with your fingers to coat all the pieces with oil. Place the remaining vegetables in a larger bowl and drizzle the remaining oil over them, spreading the oil over all the vegetables using your fingers. Spread the onions on a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast them in a 425 degree oven for 8 minutes. Pour the vegetables over the onions and stir them in spreading them evenly over the pan. Sprinkle with salt and return to oven. You’ll be roasting them anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size you’ve cut them and the tenderness of the vegetable.
Begin checking for tenderness at 30 minutes. I’ve found that the best way to do this is by sticking a fork in each kind of vegetable and tasting them. When I think they are done, I give them an additional 5 to 10 minutes keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. There’s a point where the onions have slightly caramelized and the vegetables have the wonderful roasted texture that is the ideal.
Parsley roots are a common vegetable in the Netherlands, Poland and Germany and is not usually found in the United States. At first, parsley root looks like parsnips but parsnips are cream colored and parsley roots are whiter. The flavor is a cross between celery and a carrot and you cook it like you would a carrot. It can also be mashed with other root vegetables that are good for mashing.
Parsley root is usually smaller and come with their tops still attached like carrots. The leaves are also smaller resembling fine parsley leaves. They can be used like parsley but they are tougher and less flavorful. Parsley roots works well for roasting.