This Recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables Is the Perfect Winter Side Dish

Michele Debczak
Institute of Culinary Education
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Even as farmers markets get sparse in the winter, root vegetables are still abundant. They’re the perfect food for cold weather—they’re hearty, nutritious, and best cooked in an oven that’s hot enough to heat your whole kitchen. If you’re not sure how to turn the root vegetables in your pantry into dinner, the recipe below is a great place to start.

This recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is highly adaptable. It calls for carrots, shallots, parsnips, turnips, and celery root, but you’re free to omit certain veggies or add ones that aren’t listed in the ingredients. “I would actually throw in something like fennel, which is not a root vegetable, but it’s also delicious when it’s roasted,” Roger Sitrin, ICE’s lead recreational chef-instructor, tells Mental Floss.

Once you’ve peeled and cut your vegetables, putting the dish together is a breeze. Simply toss the pieces with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast the pan in a 450º F oven for 45 minutes, tossing halfway through, for root vegetables that are perfectly tender and slightly charred.

If you grew up eating boiled, unsalted vegetables, this recipe will turn you on to the food group. Roasting them caramelizes their natural sugars and triggers the Maillard Reaction, which promotes browning. You can bolster this effect by pre-heating your pan in the oven. “I put my baking sheet in the oven while the oven is heating up, so that when the oven has reached its temperature, the pan is going to be the same temperature as the oven itself,” Sitrin says. “It starts the caramelization right away and doesn’t give [the vegetables] the chance to start steaming as the pan heats up.”

The recipe is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but it works as a rustic holiday side dish as well. If you’re cooking the vegetables together with a protein like a whole chicken, roast them according to instructions for the bird (usually for a longer time at a lower temperature). Alternately, you can prepare the veggies in advance and heat them up when guests arrive.

With campuses in New York and Los Angeles, the Institute of Culinary Education is one of the world’s largest culinary schools. Career training programs are available in subjects like culinary arts, pastry and baking arts, hospitality and hotel management, and more. Whether you’re new to the industry or you’re looking to further your education, you can apply to enroll today on ICE’s website.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4 to 6

6 shallots, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oven to 450º F.
  2. Toss shallots, carrots, celery root, parsnips, and turnip with olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Spread vegetables out in one layer, on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast vegetables for about 45 minutes, or until tender and caramelized, turning once halfway through cooking time.
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