Lunch Vol. 3: Roasted Root Vegetables

by | Nov 21, 2008

You may remember that last week I switched my work lunch ritual from salads to roasted vegetables. They take a while to cook, but I prepare them in large batches on Sunday night and eat them for the entire week.

After my first experiment, I had a few complaints. First, the cauliflower took too long to finish cooking, so I wished I had steamed it first. Second, ultimately there was not enough food to get me through the week so Wednesday night I made a quinoa dish to supplement my calories. That was a fantastic move!

This week I wanted to make a lot more vegetables, and I wanted them all to cook for roughly the same amount of time. To this end, I bought a zillion different kinds of root vegetables and threw them in the roasting pan.

The root vegetables I used: parsnips, carrots, fingerling potatoes, candy striped beets, and red and white Tokyo turnips. I seasoned them with sea salt, pepper and rosemary.

One thing that instantly struck me is that it was not nearly as much food as I thought it was. All those leafy green tops can be deceiving (though the beet greens were delicious!). After everything was cleaned and chopped, it was only one large roasting pan filled with vegetables.

The worst part is that after roasting, it all fit into one medium-sized tupper.

To be fair, I realized when I got home that people do not really cook radishes, so those were not included. Instead I thinly sliced my beautiful black and watermelon radishes and tossed them with rice vinegar. I let them marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour and ate a few that first night, but I ended up taking them to work and using them as a supplement to my roasted vegetables.

The good news is that I did not run out of food as expected. Also, the root vegetables were surprisingly filling and did not upset my stomach.

But I do not think I will make this exact dish again. For one thing, I was not particularly pleased with the way the turnips turned out. I used Tokyo turnips, both red and white. They were delicious raw, but after roasting they gave off a funny smell and also became a bit soggy.

The best thing in the dish, by far, was the beets. Something about roasted beets just wins my heart every time. I was also impressed with the way the parsnips and carrots turned out. I am still having trouble telling the difference between these two vegetables, however. Maybe the parsnips cooked a little better, but in my opinion they taste almost exactly the same. Thoughts?

Also, while the potatoes were good I think I prefer them roasted on their own. Roasted fingerlings with rosemary is one of my very favorite winter dishes, but they lost their luster when combined with all the other veggies. They were a little chewy, so I wonder if the juices that seeped out of the other vegetables caused them to lose their crispness.

I do still have half a bag of potatoes left, so I will be able to enjoy them roasted correctly this weekend. Yay!

In the future (next week I will be out of town for Thanksgiving) I think I will roast more beets (probably combining different kinds), and bring back the Brussels sprouts. I may continue to buy parsnips/carrots too.

I am also still taking suggestions on favorite winter vegetables for roasting. Thank you for all your suggestions so far!

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13 Responses to “Lunch Vol. 3: Roasted Root Vegetables”

  1. Allie says:

    I’m so surprised you can’t tell the difference between carrots and parsnips! To me, parsnips have a very strong, very unique flavor that’s hard to describe. I wonder if they taste different to different people kind of like the way brussel sprouts taste more bitter to certain people.I actually made a similar dish last week but I used a lot of sweet potatoes and yams. Their sweetness was amazing with fresh rosemary!

  2. Darya Pino says:

    Allie:I will keep trying! I would agree the parsnips tasted stronger, but still a carroty flavor.Sweet potatoes and yams sound like a fantastic idea. I always forget about them!

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Also, the root vegetables were surprisingly filling and did not upset my stomach.”What do you mean, ‘upset your stomach?’ Is that a problem I should worry about, and should I be wary of only root veggies?

  4. Healthyliving says:

    Thanks Darya for your awesome encouragement, and for the great pictures. Is there any way we can share pictures of our successful roastings on your blog?

  5. Darya Pino says:

    anon1:Nothing in particular, but the way it smelled made me a little nervous.—–Healthyliving:You’re welcome! I just tried using HTML img tags in the comment box and it didn’t work. You are welcome to use links though! The “a” tag should work.

  6. Chinasaur says:

    Great photos. Yeah, the parsnips shouldn’t be like carrots; that’s weird. Maybe too much roasting? Normally they’re spicier, like daikon mixed with parsley mixed with carrot. I feel like the texture is also normally less cohesive and creamy than a cooked carrot.Mashed parsnips go well with mashed potatoes.

  7. Healthyliving says:

    So I roasted some root vegetables this weekend, and they didn’t look nearly as awesome as yours in the picture. I used:red beetscarrotsrutabagaI also used too much oil and my herbs were kind of blackened, but it was still incredibly tasty! The rutabaga was good too, kind of like a peanuty-potato, with a sweet finish. And I have 3 servings of leftovers for the rest of the week!

  8. Darya Pino says:

    Healthyliving:That’s funny. Mine look pretty in this photo because they are raw! After I cooked them they didn’t look as nice so I didn’t post the pic. The taste is all that really matters though. I’m glad you enjoyed it!!

  9. Katie says:

    Love your pre-roasting picture- those candy striped beets make me wanna go find some veggies to roast right now!

  10. Bonnie says:

    I am a huge fan of roasting vegetables and as my beets are just ready in the garden I will now try them as well. My favorites to roast are yams, red and yellow peppers and broccolli. I use a really hot oven,
    425 and love the browning they get.
    Thanks for the recipies.

  11. Lori McKee says:

    I love roasted veggies, but like you I’m always disappointed when a big batch cooks down to so little to actually eat (also tickled me that you use the word “tupper” – I thought everyone abbreviated it that way until a friend questioned me about it once, so now I’m glad to see it’s NOT just our family that uses the word).

    Also – my husband complains about the smell of roasting veggies. True, I get some burning and need to work on that. Also may be WHAT I’m roasting (mostly bell peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli??). He’s definitely anti-beet, so tho’ I’d love to try those, I’d have to trick him in to eating them. Not sure he (or I) have ever had fresh beets, though!

    Going to keep checking your blog for more articles on roasted veggies. Oh! We tried the curry cauliflower last week and loved it – ate a whole head of it between the two of us in one meal. Oops!

    I just love your approach to healthy eating. Thanks for sharing it.

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