Root vegetables have a lot of natural sugars in them which caramelize when roasted at a high enough temperature.
They're also packed with vitamins and beta carotene. So, starchy they may be, but they are also good for you too. (As if I need any encouragement, you can't keep me away from them!)
The one thing about those sweet vegetables, so perfect for caramelizing, is that they love a little acidity to sharpen their flavor. Which is why you find orange-glazed carrots and balsamic roasted beets.
We've taken a similar approach with this melange of roasted root vegetables, by tossing them in a strongly acidic vinaigrette of cider vinegar, olive oil, and a little brown sugar, before roasting them.
The vinegar intensifies the taste of the vegetables, and brings balance to their natural sweetness. So good!
Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables
If your root vegetables are competing with a roast for the oven for a holiday meal, just make them ahead, and put them in the oven to warm them up again while the roast rests before serving.
We are using parsnips, golden beets, carrots, and yams for this recipe, but you could use any of your favorite root vegetables.
This recipe makes enough for 6 to 8 people and requires two roasting pans. You can easily cut the recipe in half.
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- 4 medium golden beets, peeled, thickly sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled, sliced lengthwise into 1 to 2 inch long pieces
- 3 medium garnet yams, sliced lengthwise into 1 to 2 inch long pieces
- 4 medium parsnips, peeled, sliced lengthwise into 1 to 2 inch long pieces, any tough woody core removed
- 1 large red onion, thickly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon thyme, dry or fresh
Toss vegetables with vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, pepper:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl (enough room for all the vegetables) mix together the cider vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Add the vegetables—the beets, carrots, yams, parsnips, onion—to the bowl and toss to combine.
Spread vegetables out into two lined sheet pans:
Line two large roasting pans or sturdy rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread the root vegetables out over the pans in a single layer, with some space in between so that the vegetables don't crowd each other too much and the hot oven air can circulate around the vegetables. (You'll get better browning that way.) Pour the remaining vinaigrette over the root vegetables in the pans.
Roast the vegetables:
Place vegetables in the oven and roast at 450°F for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the pans (and swapping bottom and top rack positions), half-way through the cooking. Cook until the vegetables are well browned and caramelized around the edges.
Sprinkle with thyme:
Remove from oven and gently loosen the root vegetables from the foil with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with thyme. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad from A Spicy Perspective
Roasted Root Vegetable and Wheat Berry Salad from David Lebovitz
Roasted Root Vegetables with Tomatoes and Kale here on Simply Recipes