One of the great benefits of having a garden is that it teaches you to eat by the season, which allows you to enjoy each kind of vegeatble fresh off the plant (or in the case of root vegetables, fresh out of the ground), when it’s at its most flavorful and finest. And one of the great benefits of having a garden in the fall is the bounty of root crops just waiting to be dug up and enjoyed. Even without a garden you can enjoy fall’s great root bounty just by stepping into the produce aisle at the grocery store, which in the fall is virtually a tributre to all crops with roots.
At first the root crops can be intimidating with their odd shapes and thick skins, but behind the weird facade is a goldmine of taste and nutrition. And root vegetables can be really easy to cook, as long as you’ve got a peeler to peel and a knife to chop. The secret to a good root vegetable dish is to give those roots a roast.
Roasting roots is so simple that I have more of a list of guidelines than a recipe to give you. To get a good roast, you want to peel and then chop your vregetables very uniformly so that they’re all the same size, somewhere between 1 and 2 inches. This ensures that everything will cook evenly. Another key to an even roast is to spread the roots out in a single layer on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper (for an easy cleanup later on). Don’t crowd! Give every piece a little room to breathe.
Next you want to toss your chopped vegetables in a little olive oil. As a rule of thumb, use about 1 Tbsp olive oil per pound of chopped veggies. No need to be exact. I love to use an infused olive oil such as Rosemary or Roasred Garlic to sneak in a little extra flavor. And that’s another tip to roasting great roots: Season liberally. That means sprinklin on plenty of sea salt and black pepper, a flavored olive oil, and maybe even some chopped fresh herbs. I just add my oil and seasoning to the chopped veggies on the sheet pan and then use my hands to mix everything together and then make sure the chopped pieces are evenly distributed.
You are ready to roast! Slide your sheet pan into a 425 F preheated oven, and set your timer for 15 minutes. To get a good carmelization on your chopped roots, you’ll be stirring them every 15 minutes until they’re tender and just starting to turn golden along the edges, about 45 minutes over all.
Once your roots are roasted, toss them with a little more olive oil and adjust your seasonigs (add more salt and pepper if needed). And then be sure to dig in and enjoy!