I love visiting my sister's ranch in southern Utah. Her vegetable garden spans boldly across an open field, row by row. It appears endless. I love the potato patch. For us city folk it is a little mind blowing to take a shovel and "dig up" what's for dinner. But, neatly tucked underground where they can absorb hefty amounts of nutritional goodness, are this time of year's nutritional powerhouses — root vegetables.
For centuries root vegetables have been used for their healing properties. Garlic regulates the immune system, is anti-fungal and has been shown to enhance the activity of natural killer cells, which can destroy tumor cells. Beets also contain anti-cancer properties and are loaded with phytonutrients, which we can tell by their bright red color. A good rule of thumb is: the brighter the vegetable's color, the more phytonutrients it contains.
Sweet potatoes are actually not even potatoes. They're in a completely different botanical family, but a super food nonetheless. They're loaded with vitamins C and A, minerals and fiber.
Then there are ginger, ginseng, onions, shallots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, carrots and radishes. In season right now, they roast up tender and contain more nutrition in one plate of roasted root veggies than you'll find in many days worth of refined, processed food!
To give you a hand on how to prepare these wonders of nature in an easy, tasty way, I'm including a popular recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil. This is one of my favorite ways to include these super foods in my family's diet. They are tender and lightly sweet so kids love them, too. I do lots of variations on this recipe and have loved them all!
There are dozens of healthy recipes to choose from, including an herbed version of the recipe below, veggie turnovers, shepherd's pie, baked stuffed zucchini, lemon and herb new potatoes and much more on my website, gotoloa.com. You are invited to stop by and browse. Enjoy autumn and taste the goodness of this time of year.
I'll see you in two weeks.
Love & health,
Thanksgiving Roasted Root Veggies
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 to 2 pounds root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, beets, sweet potatoes)
1 medium onion, peeled, in 1/4-inch wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika or mild red chili powder
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put vegetables (except garlic) in a bowl. Toss with the oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika or chili.
3. Spread the veggies in a roasting pan. (Do not crowd the pieces; use two pans if necessary.) Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and evenly browned, 45 to 50 minutes.
4. Add garlic cloves during the last 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.