Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Root Vegetables

The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.

Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings.

Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes (Cooking times vary. It may take 45-60 minutes depending on your oven, pan size and how full the pan is.)
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 sweet potato
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like squash)
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
3. Place in a large baking dish with sides.
4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
6. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.

Note: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.

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