Friday, November 6, 2009

Roasted Vegetables with a Maple Orange Glaze

Normally, I would prefer to eat most of these vegetables raw, grated on a salad.  It’s the best way to get the full nutritional value out of a vegetable.  However, when the weather turns cold, I start to crave warm comfort foods.  This dish of roasted root vegetables is one of my favorite fall/winter (guilt free) comfort foods.  I love it because it’s so tasty,  so inexpensive and easy to make, and so good for you.  Topped with an orange maple glaze, you might even get kids to eat it. 

These powerhouse vegetables provide you with so many vitamins and minerals.  From the carrots you’re going to get beta carotene (that your body turns into vitamin A), lots of fiber, antioxidants and minerals.  
From the yams you’ll get vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium.  It’s high potassium/low sodium ratio produces an excellent balance in your body to protect against heart disease and osteoporosis.  
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and fiber and also contain vitamin C and B6.
The beets are the super food of the bunch.  They’ve been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments from high cholesterol and liver problems to cancer.  The Romans used beets to treat fevers and constipation.  The American Heart Association found that drinking 2 cups of beet juice can lower elevated blood pressure in an hour and continued to keep blood pressure levels down for up to 24 hours after drinking it.
You can use any number of other root vegetables in this dish, these are the ones that were available in my area.  I tried to find some purple carrots at the farmer’s market, to add another color, but couldn’t find any.  It doesn’t matter which roots you use, it’s more important to cut them into the same size so they cook at the same rate.  The other thing I do when making this dish is cook the beets separately and mix them together at the end.  Otherwise, the beets will stain everything red.

 I line the pans with parchment paper for easier clean up.
Roasted Root Vegetables with an Orange Maple Glaze
Serves 4 - Use Organic ingredients whenever possible
2 large carrots
1 large beet
1 large sweet potato
1 large yam
2 oranges
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 400˚
Peel the carrots and potatoes and cut them into 1-2 inch pieces.
Put the carrots and potatoes into a 9x13 inch parchment lined pan.
Peel the beet and cut it into 1-2 inch pieces.
Put the cut up beet into an 8 inch parchment lined pan.
Juice one half of one of the oranges and whisk in the olive oil.
Take one tablespoon of this mixture and drizzle it over the beet and mix to coat.
Take the remaining orange/oil mixture and pour it over the carrots and potatoes, mix to coat them.
Sprinkle both pans with salt.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork.
Juice the remaining orange and a half and put the juice into a small heavy pot with the maple syrup.
On a high heat bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low.
Simmer until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.  This should take no more than 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the beets over the other vegetables and pour the glaze over everything.
Serve immediately.

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