Root vegetables are super-healthy because they grow underground and absorb many of the nutrients in the soil. They are high in fiber, antioxidants and low in calories. Root veggies include yams, potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, ginger, turmeric, jicama, celery root (or celeriac), Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, yuca, salsify, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, horseradish, daikon, and radishes.
Most root vegetables are available year round, but the peak season is fall through spring, with the exception of beets, which taste best during summer through fall. However, turnips and rutabagas taste best during the winter months. Most types of root vegetables should be cooked rather than eaten raw. It's best to roast or steam root veggies. I also like to mash them like potatoes or make baked chips using a colorful variety.
Ingredients (choose organic when available):
- 3 cups parsnips, scrubbed or peeled, then sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
- 3 cups carrots, scrubbed or peeled, then sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
- 1 cups rutabaga, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 cup turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 cups *beets, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius.
Steam the vegetables over boiling water for 6 minutes, until half cooked; or place in a microwavable dish with 1/2 inch water, cover loosely and microwave for 4 minutes.
Drain vegetables and evenly toss with thyme or rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet (preferably non-stick) and roast for 35 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Serves 6.
*Smaller beets tend to be sweeter than the larger ones. Save the beet greens and steam them for another meal.
Nutritional Facts per serving: 115 calories, 2 grams fat, 280 miligrams sodium, 642 milligrams potassium, 23.8 grams carbohydrate, 6.3 grams dietary fiber, 2.3 grams protein. Excellent source of vitamins A and C.
For more healthy recipes and a diet geared towards optimal health and weight loss without deprivation, pick up a copy of Layne's book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.