This recipe was originally steamed vegetables with melted butter, maple syrup and spices and herbs. But, I had fallen in love with roasted vegetables. They’re just so fun to make and so pretty and yummy! Did I mention yummy!
If you’ve tried roasting root vegetables and found them to be too bitter, it was probably because they needed to be smaller, among a few techniques needed to really enjoy them. Instead of cutting them 2″ or 3″ in size, cut them small. It makes a big change, not just in terms of taste but also presentation. The vegetables need to cook dry and not braising in fats or juices. The onions will slightly caramelize, the skins of the carrots (and radishes) will slightly blister and their color will be more saturated, and the vegetables will not taste greasy.
Use parchment paper not foil to line the pan. Many recipes call for olive oil but for health reasons avocado oil is recommended because of its high (500 degree) smoking point.
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 roots 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’ve been posting a series of combinations of roasted vegetables and have put this introduction with each of them hoping it will help everyone become successful at these really delicious and pretty side dishes.
Maple Roasted Delicata, Carrots, Parsnips and Peas
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.
- 1/2 delicata squash, skin removed and cut in small 1/2″ pieces
- parts of different color carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally in 1/4″ slices
- 2 small parsnips, peeled and sliced diagonally in 1/4″ slices or cut in 3/4″ by 1/2″ pieces
- 4 – 4 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 3/4 cup petite peas, thawed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (oregano, chives, thyme)
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. Place the remaining vegetables and herbs of choice in a larger bowl and drizzle the remaining oil over them. Spread the onions on a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast them for 8 minutes. Meanwhile place the maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg in a small pan and turn on low. At 8 minutes, remove the onions from the oven pour the vegetables over the onions and stir them in spreading them evenly over the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven again and stir in the peas and the melted butter mixture. Roast another 10 – 15 minutes. Your roasting time will vary depending on the size you’ve cut them and the tenderness of the vegetable.
Begin checking for tenderness at the 25 – 30 minute mark. I’ve found that the best way to do this is by sticking a fork in each kind of vegetable and tasting them. There’s a point where the onions have slightly caramelized and the vegetables have the wonderful roasted texture that is the ideal.