Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples & Herbs

I am so ready for spring but I am also sad about some of the dishes that I won't be eating for a whole year. When the weather turns warm we sort of retire our oven and conserve energy by using our grill or eating lots of raw things, salads, smoothies or plates full of fresh veggies which celebrates their inherent beauty and flavor. In the colder parts of the year; fall ,winter and early spring we like to eat our veggies roasted. Most of the vegetables in season during these parts of the year are hearty root veggies that taste their best when drizzled with oil, salt and peppered, and then roasted on a high temp which caramelizes their sugars and makes them sweet as candy! I love pairing these, with succulent and salty roasted chicken thighs or sometimes I throw in huge chunks of locally made sausage to roast right in the pan with them. This imparts rich, porky goodness to the veggies as well. This particular recipe for roasted root vegetables is a sweet and savory mix, it combines earthy beets, sweet carrots, sharp onions, sweet apples and nutty pumpkin seed oil. The veggies roast at a very high temp which creates a crispy exterior and a creamy interior. The beets melt and bleed a rich red color to the whole dish that looks so beautiful.

Let's talk local! All of the vegetables in this dish are picked within 100 miles of my house and arrive a few hours from the time they are picked. This means that I am getting vegetables that are not only grown organically, without the use of pesticides or other chemicals, but I am also getting vegetables that are full of vitamins and nutrients because they haven't sat around on a truck or warehouse for days. Everyday that a vegetable is picked, packaged and shipped, the vegetables loses nutrients and vitamins. So when you buy one at the grocery store that comes all the way from Mexico or Chile you are getting a bland, pesticide laden and virtually nutrient free product that is only grown to survive the travel. Have you ever tasted a grocery store tomato and compared it to one from a farmer's market? The grocery store tomato is bred and grown to produce a tough, bland tomato that will survive the travel and shelf life. No respect is given to the flavor it will have. The farmer's market tomato is produced by a farmer who takes pride in their work. He/she wants to produce the best tasting tomato they can. They don't have to worry weather the delicate heirloom variety is hearty and strong because they will be transporting it locally for sale, the same day it's picked. I strongly urge you to go and look at the vegetables at a farmer's market. You will find 100's of different kids of tomatoes, beets, lettuces, beans and probably vegetables you have never even seen before. I love to peruse the stalls tasting and eyeing all the gorgeous varieties. You can also talk to the farmers who grow them, watch their faces light up when you talk about their craft, it's a very spiritual and powerful experience. I liken it to, attending a church service.  I always feel renewed and light after I visit the farmer's market. I love to take all my purchases home, lay them on the counter and think about what I will create!

The oil I used in this dish is also made locally. I love, love, love olive oil and use it every day, but none of it is produced locally, I usually buy mine from California. There is a wonderful company, however, that is local to me, in the Hudson Valley, that produces some unusual oils that are so delicious and healthy. Stony Brook, wholeheartedfoods, makes expeller-pressed squash seed oils. All of the squash are grown locally, and without pesticides or chemicals and the oil is pressed without the use of high heat so all the nutrients are retained. It results in a luxurious, nutty and oh so wonderful oil that tastes amazing on everything. I just love their products and I send them as gifts all the time because they are so unique. You can buy them online, click on the link above to see all their incredible products.

This recipe serves up to 6 as a side dish.


5 Organic carrots, peeled.
4 Organic beets, peeled and greens cut off and saved.
1 Large onion, peeled.
2 Organic apples, peeled, I used granny smith.
6 Organic cloves of garlic, minced or grated.
4 Tbsp fresh, organic thyme, leaves only, chopped finely.
4 Tbsp fresh, organic oregano, leaves only, chopped finely.
Lots of sea salt & fresh ground pepper, about 2 Tbsp each or to taste.
1/4 Cup olive oil
4 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil, optional.
2 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil, to finish, optional.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut all vegetables and apples into equal size chunks, I like large ones, just make sure they are uniform in size so that they cook evenly.

Place all vegetables and apples in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and drizzle with the olive oil and 4 Tbsp of pumpkin seed oil, if using. If you are not using the pumpkin seed oil all olive oil is fine.

Mix all ingredients together with your hands till all vegetables and apples are well coated with oil, garlic and herbs.

Place in preheated oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are brown and soft.

Place on a serving dish and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp of pumpkin seed oil, if using. Serve with your favorite meat or even a poached egg on top would be wonderful! I served mine with roasted chicken thighs and the left over beet greens, sauteed with garlic and tomatoes!

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” 
― Herophilus

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