A weekly meal at my house in the colder months is roasted roots. I tend to make these on a Sunday night, to bring the weekend to a close. The grounding, warming energy of the roots is exactly how I like to wind down the weekend and prepare for the work week ahead. Additionally, making a big batch of roots sets us up with a few lunches for the week. I love to feel prepared with easy to assemble, nutritious lunches for my husband and I to bring into work. It leaves me feeling grounded and in charge!
But that’s not the only reason I love making roots.
These quiet, brooding, extra serious winter vegetables of the root variety have some really admirable characteristics.
If you think about a root, and it’s function in the plant, the root is there to stabilize. It acts as the anchor, providing consistent nourishment, giving the plant the stamina and endurance needed to thrive.
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the energetics of food when dealing with any sort of discomfort or dis-ease in the body. I find it fascinating to look at a food beyond it’s nutritional values (though those are super important too) and consider the energetic characteristics of the food we put in our mouths. Food for thought, right?
An interesting read on the topic is the book Food Energetics by Steve Gagné.
Here’s a great quote from Gagné regarding roots:
“The private nature of the root, demonstrated by its work underground in darkness, is energetically manifested in us as stamina, confidence, grounding (physically and mentally), persistence, and strength…
Roots are fixed-goal-oriented: their goal is to dig deep and get to the point.”
Don’t you just love that? And doesn’t that energy satisfy the sort of inherent desire we have lurking around in the winter? I know I have been digging deep this winter, doing a lot of soul searching and feeling energized by creating and maintaining persistent habits. I figure I better do it now, before the freshness and the newness of spring encourages flightier endeavors! The flit and fancy of spring’s leafy greens are perfect for such moods!
But now, in the winter, the root reigns king, and I am all for it.
This recipe is incredibly flexible, so please feel free to try whatever vegetables you want! Though, these are all real tasty…
Also good: A few varieties of potatoes, daikon radish, celery root, celery stalks, sunchokes—etc. Do what you want!
And please, don’t fear the knife here! I know some people can be a little shy to chopping up hard vegetables like roots—but having a sharp knife and watching your fingers ought to get you through unscathed. I find that having a nice rhythm on in the background helps too—get the old rock and chop going and you won’t want to stop! For your convenience I have added a few tunes at the end of this post—they accompanied my last round of roots!
- 1/2 onion
- 2 medium sized beets
- 2 parsnips
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 1 rutabaga
- 1 turnip
- 1 sweet potato
- 15 or so Brussels Sprouts
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 inches of ginger, sliced thinly or grated
- 1/2 olive oil
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- salt + pepper to taste (lot’s of pepper!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree
2. Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, or to your preference.
3. Once chopped, add to a deep bowl.
4. Toss vegetables with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
5. Spread coated vegetables onto a cookie sheet. Cover with foil.
6. Bake for 80 minutes or so—bake time will depend on the size of your veggies—test often!
7. Remove from the oven when vegetables are soft, yet still somewhat firm.
8. And voila! I like to serve with some cooked quinoa or brown rice (I cook mine in a little rice cooker while the vegetables are in the oven), a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a lot of fresh ground black pepper.
I often add a few raw vegetables into the mix as well. There is some chopped kale and purple cabbage tossed in here.
Simple, nutritious, and designed to take your energy where it needs to go this time of year. Rock and roll.
As promised, some tunes to chop it out to:
How could I resist this one?! The Seed 2.0 by The Roots
Beat those winter blues little Ikes: I’m Blue by The Ikettes
Pushovers don’t rock and chop—keep that in mind: Pushover by Etta James
Ok, I get it, ‘m talking about the personalities of parsnips: Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Bonus Shot—here is my lunch the next day at work! Yesssss!