NCAA basketball play-offs time. Right! But March has another "madness," the weather: Rain, snow, sleet, warm one day, freezing the next, spring sun trying to chase away winter gloom. Staying healthy during "March Madness" can be a bit tricky. 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 & parsnips.
Three cheers for colorful bundles of nutrition that add crunchy taste to your meals while they perk up your body & keep it running smoothly. Low in calories with a naturally sweet taste and loaded with delicious fiber, they make your digestive system work better by giving you more energy and even a little weight loss! Packed with vitamin C, these roots help fight off colds and help reduce your cholesterol.
Steam or roast them. Toss them into stews or soup.
Mix them all together or pair with different "partners".
- Beets like partners. Delicious with red onion and slices of orange or grapefruit. Cooking brings out the sweetness; a bit of vinegar bumps up the flavor
- Carrots are the most widely eaten veggie in the world! From crunchy sticks for dips to flavor for soup to carrot cake, their natural sweetness can't be beat.
- Parsnips are the unsung root veggie. Denser than a carrot with a nuttier taste, they add delicate flavor to soup, salad or stew. They should be cooked. Delicious mashed up with carrots or sweet potatoes, a bit of butter and cinnamon.
Our March Madness dishes adapts to the weather! Tasty served warm on damp messy days or served at room temperature on suddenly warm ones. See below or try these 10 ways to use root vegetables.
Enjoy March Madness. Root for the roots that power you through it.
Recipe: March Madness
Winter Root Medley
Can be a salad, a warm side dish or add lentils for a protein rich main dish.
- 2 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
- 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 Inch pieces
- 4 fingerling potatoes (purple or white), cut in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped kale (optional)
Preparation: Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Put all vegetables, except the kale, 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. Add chopped kale last 15 minutes of cooking.
- 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 shallot, finely diced, 1 garlic clove, minced, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.
NOTE: Add Extra Protein: Cook 1/2 cup green lentils in 1 cup water or broth for 20 minutes. Drain, cool & add to root medley.
Extras: Toss on nuts, feta cheese or pomegranate seeds.
Tips: Dressing Up Your
- Peeling beets: The skins of beets peel off easily after they are cooked. Let them cool. Hold the beet with a fork and rub off the skin. To avoid getting your hands a bit stained with beet juice, use a paper towel when rubbing.
- Peeling parsnips: Just scrape with a knife. They have a very thin skin. Scraping means you lose less of the nutrition that is close to the skin.
- Parsnips are good mashing partners
- Parsnips & carrots together with dill
- Sweet potatoes & parsnips with honey & butter
- Mix your roots with fruit for added flavor:
- Add raw fresh pear wedges to the Winter Root Medley.
- Add orange section to beets & red onions
- Mix cooked or raw carrots with oranges or grapefruit
- Pair your roots with herbs: A dash or two of seasoning can turn boring into delicious. Matching is the key. Go gradually: Add a dash or two, taste, add more.
- Beets: Basil, chives, cumin, ginger.
- Carrots: Dill, oregano, coriander, ginger
Sprinkle herbs over the veggies with a bit of olive oil...just a bit!
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