When I first entered the world of dietetics (it seems eons ago), steaming vegetables was all the rage. I still have my little metal steam basket, and I do use it – just not as often. Why? I’ve fallen in love with roasted vegetables. Roasted asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, and my new favorite . . . roasted winter vegetables. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness and flavors of vegetables. It’s simple to do and you can easily flavor your vegetables any way you like, such as lemon and pepper, rosemary and garlic, or maple and balsamic.
This time I took winter vegetables – sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets – and paired them with the deep, sweet flavors of maple and balsamic. I’ve always adored sweet potatoes, prepared pretty much any way you can think of. And carrots, well, they are another of my favorites, especially the heirloom carrots we grew this year. I still have some from our garden, hanging out in the fridge, waiting to be added to the dinner table. I love the vibrant colors of orange, purple, yellow, and red. But beets and I are just starting to forge a foodie relationship in the last year or so. I’ve written before about my long-standing aversion to beets and how roasting them opened my eyes to their culinary possibilities. We have now gone from herb-roasted to maple-balsamic roasted, and I’m quite pleased with the result.
This dish would make a beautiful addition to your holiday table. The deep orange and red colors are visually appealing. Creamy sweet potatoes, chewy beets, and tender carrots are lightly glazed with the rich flavors of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
You can probably use most kinds of winter vegetables in this recipe but I’ve only made it with sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets. Try to cut them to a similar size to enable more even roasting. If you have trouble peeling the beets, don’t cut off the stem right away. Use it as a handle to hold the beet and then peel it with a vegetable peeler. This worked very well for me. Just remember that if you use red beets, your fingers and hands (and white towels) will turn red. But it’s worth it for the earthy flavor beets add to this dish.
If you haven’t tried roasting vegetables yet, it’s time to start. And don’t be shy of trying vegetables you have previously written off as unappealing. Roasting them might help you widen your tastes in the world of vegetables. And any time we can add more vegetables to our palette, well, that’s a healthy idea.
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Have you tried roasting vegetables? Are there any vegetables you previously avoided and now like? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about them!
Oven Roasted Maple-Balsamic Winter Vegetables
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled, and cut into 1 - 1 1/2 in. chunks
- 1/2 - 1 lb. carrots cut into chunks
- 3-4 beets peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper or more to taste
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 375° F and spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick pan spray.
- Prepare vegetables as directed in ingredient list, trying to keep them close to the same size. Place them into a large bowl.
- Whisk together all remaining ingredients except rosemary. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the mix and pour the rest evenly over the vegetables, tossing them together so all vegetables are coated with the maple-balsamic sauce.
- Pour into the prepared pan and arrange them evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and arrange rosemary sprigs on top of the vegetables. .
- Slide the pan into the oven and roast at 375° F for 45-60 minutes until tender or cooked to desired tenderness, stopping to pour remaining sauce over the vegetables about 10 minutes before they are done. I did this at 40 minutes. Check with a fork at 45 minutes and add more time if needed.
- Remove from oven. Serve and enjoy!