"March Madness" means it's time for the NCAA basketball play-offs! Right? RIGHT! But March Madness has another meaning this year: the weather! We've had rain, snow, sleet and cold one day, followed by sunshine and warmth the next day - with the spring sun trying to chase away winter gloom.
The upside is that warm weather is just around the corner and with it will come the abundance of spring harvests.
Staying healthy during March Madness can be a bit tricky. At Harvest Home, while basketball lovers are cheering on their favorite team, we're rooting for those root veggies that give us what we need to get through the weather madness of March: carrots, beets and parsnips.
Colorful bundles of roots can add crunch and earthy flavors to your meals, along with a bounty of digestive fiber, extra minerals and vitamins. Roots are low in calories with a naturally sweet taste and they are high in fiber which makes your digestive system work better. That equals more energy to help get you through the day along with some weight loss! Packed with vitamin C, roots help fight off colds and help reduce cholesterol. Tasty, versatile and healthful - root vegetables deserve some cheering!
Steam them. Roast them. Toss them into stews or soup.
- Beets like partners. They're delicious with red onion and slices of orange or grapefruit. Cooking roots brings out their sweetness and adding a bit of vinegar bumps up their flavor.
- Carrots are the most widely eaten veggie in the world! From crunchy sticks for dips to carrot cake, their natural sweetness can't be beat. Carrots are also a rich source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene).
- Parsnips are the unsung root veggie. Denser than a carrot with a nuttier taste, parsnips add delicate flavor to soup, salad or stews. They should be cooked and taste so good when mashed up with carrots or sweet potatoes, a bit of butter and cinnamon. Experiment with combos and flavors you like!
Our March Madness Winter Root Medley below can be served as a warm side dish, at room temperature or chilled as a belly-filling salad. Winter Root Medley is delicious during rain, sleet, snow or sun and easily adopts to the wacky March weather!
Enjoy March Madness. Root for roots. Root for your basketball team. Root for health. ROOT FOR EARLY SPRING!
Winter Root Medley
A filling salad or a warm side dish. This recipe is verstile, seasonal and easy!
- 2 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 8 fingerling or small potatoes (red, purple or white), cut in half lengthwise
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Put all vegetables in bowl, drizzle with oil and toss together. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on two cookie sheets
- Roast vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes, gently tossing around with a wooden spoon to ensure even roasting.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool, 4 to 5 minutes (if serving cold, allow vegetables to cool completely before refrigerating until ready to serve).
- Transfer vegetables into a large mixing bowl and gently toss together with balsamic vinaigrette.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Mix together:
- 1/2 finely diced shallot or thinly sliced scallions/green onions
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp light brow sugar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- For extra flavor add pine nuts or cashews (lightly roast nuts for 5 mins to release oils and flavor) and feta.
You'll get a round of CHEERS whenever you make this rooty dish!
Rooting For and Prepping Your Roots
- The skins of beets peel off easily after they are cooked.
- Let the beats cool then hold the beet with a fork and rub off the skin.
- Use a paper towel when scrubbing to avoid getting your hands stained with beet juice.
- Parsnips have a very thin skin. To peel, just scrape them with a knife.
- By scraping them, you will lose less of the nutrition that is close to the skin.
Parsnips are Good Mashing Partners
- Mash parsnips and carrots together with dill.
- Mash sweet potatoes and parsnips with honey and butter.
Mix Roots with Fruit for Added Flavor
- Add raw fresh pear wedges to the Winter Root Medley.
- Add orange section to beets and red onions.
- Mix cooked or raw carrots with oranges or grapefruit.
Pair Roots with Herbs
- A dash or two of seasoning can turn boring into delicious, it's all about the combos you choose! Go slow and add a dash or two of each herb to your roots until you find a taste you like.
- Match beets with basil, chives, cumin or ginger.
- Match carrots with dill, oregano, coriander or ginger.
Freshen Up a Side Dish
- Add spring herbs over veggies with just a bit of olive oil for a fresh addition to any meal!
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