Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roasted Roots

In my opinion, there's not much out there that's better than roasted vegetables. And if those vegetables are root vegetables, then you're in for a real treat. Root vegetables are different than the others because they carry more natural sweetness than their over-the-ground counterparts. Natural sweetness means you can cook them until the vegetables are sweet and tasty and just oh so good. Add in some garlic and it's elevated to amazing heights of flavors that burst in your mouth with every bite.

As the vegetables cook, their sugars are released and they caramelize to perfection. The crunchy outsides are a great compliment to the soft insides of the sweet potatoes and carrots. I'm actually a little partial to the sweet potatoes in this dish, but all the vegetables are great. They work very well together to add different textures and flavors that are the perfect side dish to pretty much any meal. All the vegetables can be roasted on their own, too, which opens up so many ideas of what to serve them with! Onions would be a great accompaniment to a grilled steak and roasting just the sweet potatoes would be an excellent alternative to the sugar-and-butter-smothered ones on Thanksgiving. The amount of oil and spices/garlic would have to be reduced a bit depending on what and how much is made if they're roasted individually, but it would definitely be worth the effort. Think I might just have to make them all separate now...

Roasted Root Vegetables

2 medium/large sweet potatoes
3 medium/large  idaho potatoes
4 carrots
1 med onion

1/3 c olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Mix oil, garlic and spices together.
3. Cut sweet potatoes into 1 1/2" dices.
4. Cut idaho potatoes and carrots into 1" dices.
5. Cut onion into 1" chunks.
6. Toss oil mixture with vegetables.
7. Spray a large foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread the vegetables evenly around. (Don't over crowd them or they won't cook properly - use two baking sheets if necessary.)
8. Bake for about 40 minutes or until tender and browned. Mix them around and turn pieces over halfway through to ensure even cooking.

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