When you are looking to diversify the vegetable-based sides that will adorn the bounty of Thanksgiving food on your table this year or just want to add some healthy, hearty vegetable-based dishes to your repertoire of best recipes this winter, trying out a few new root vegetable recipes is a great way to spice up your fall and winter meals in a nutritious and satisfying way.
Fall and winter seasonal root vegetables and tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, and carrots can impart an earthy, sweet, and even creamy flavor to soups, stews, mashes and purées, and even desserts. They are filling, packed with complex carbohydrates and fiber, which help keep hunger at bay, and also excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium.
Winter root vegetables and tubers are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed as healthy, flavor-packed accouterments to a starring protein—as in their various roles in Thanksgiving side dishes—or as the principal player in a satisfying main dish. Below, we share some original recipes we have created to celebrate the bountiful range of healthy fall and winter root vegetables. These healthy root veggie dishes are vegan and gluten-free, so even if you are on a limited diet, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of the season.
Balsamic Roasted Beets and Sunchokes
These sweet and tangy beets and sunchokes pair well and make a great addition to a warm salad of fresh or wilted greens, goat cheese (if you eat dairy), and walnuts for lunch. You can also serve them as a side alongside fish, tofu, or other protein, depending on your dietary preferences.
- 1-2 pounds of beets, peeled
- 2 cups sunchokes
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- .5 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 sprigs thyme and 1 tbsp leaves
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, syrup, thyme sprigs, and 1/4 cup of water over medium-high heat.
- After the mixture is boiled, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the sliced shallots and let the mixture marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to 48 hours refrigerated.
- Remove the thyme, and strain out the shallots, saving the liquid.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel or scrub beets and cut them into wedges no thicker than one inch.
- Scrub the sunchokes, removing the eyes. Then chop them into 1-inch cubes.
- Add the beets and sunchokes to a large bowl.
- Whisk together the avocado oil, balsamic glaze, minced garlic, and then pour the glaze over the vegetables.
- Toss the vegetables until they are evenly dressed, and then spread them onto the baking sheet in a flat layer.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
Stuffed Holiday Sweet Potato Boats
These filling sweet potato boats are a great holiday main dish or winter dinner for vegans. You can also use white potatoes, though the flavor is richer and more complex with sweet potatoes.
- 4-5 large sweet potatoes
- .75 cups uncooked quinoa
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 portobello mushrooms, chopped, or 12 ounces of white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups chopped Swiss chard
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- .5 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- .25 cup roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- .5 tsp ground cinnamon
- .25 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cook the quinoa by adding the quinoa to a medium saucepan with water, bringing both to a boil over high heat. After the water boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 18-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
- When the quinoa is done, remove the lid and let it cool completely and then fluff it with a fork.
- Cut each sweet potato in half lengthwise and brush the insides with a generous coating of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle them with cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and place them face down on the baking sheet.
- Bake cut side down for 15 minutes, and then carefully turn the potatoes cut side up and bake another 30-40 minutes or until fork-tender.
- While the sweet potatoes bake, add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil for 10 minutes or until the volume has reduced by half.
- Add the cooked to a cast-iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the quinoa until it is golden brown and somewhat crispy.
- Toss with 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos and then pour the quinoa into a bowl.
- Using the same skillet, sauté the shallots and mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos until brown (5 minutes or so). Add the garlic and Swiss chard until the greens have wilted.
- Add the quinoa back to the pan and stir to combine.
- When the sweet potatoes are done roasted, carefully scoop out some of their filling and stuff each half generously with as much filling as will fit. Allow them to roast for 5 more minutes in the oven, then remove, sprinkle on the nuts and seeds, drizzle with the balsamic reduction, and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Curried Parsnip, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Purée
This flavorful puree pairs well with any savory meal or makes a nice addition to your Thanksgiving or winter holiday spread.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 large parsnips, peeled
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp curry powder
- .5 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Juice and zest of one lime
- 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into four strips
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, sliced
- .5 tsp sea salt
- Optional fresh cilantro for garnishing
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips by poking them with a fork, wrapping them in foil, laying them on a baking sheet, and baking for 50 minutes or until soft. If the carrots and parsnips are small, wrap the two carrots together and the two parsnips together rather than wrapping each individually.
- Add the almond milk, curry powder, paprika, fresh ginger, and coconut oil to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the volume has reduced by one-third. Discard the ginger.
- When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and place them in a food processor or blender with the parsnips and any juices remaining in the foil wrappers from the veggies.
- Add the reduced almond milk and purée the mixture with salt and pepper until smooth. Add more almond milk if it’s too thick.
- Transfer the warm purée into a serving dish. Garnish with lime juice, lime zest, sliced almonds, and fresh cilantro.
Warm Cinnamon Baked Sweet Potatoes
These nutty, warmly spiced sweet potatoes are reminiscent of apple crisp, but can be enjoyed as a dinner side or healthy winter dessert. They have a classic holiday aroma and are nutritious and easy to make. Try them as a healthy dessert for the holidays.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- .5 tsp nutmeg
- .25 tsp ground clove
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 2 tbsp dried dates or figs, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.
- Using a paring knife, remove a little bit of the center of the sweet potato halves to create a very shallow boat.
- Place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet, insides facing up.
- In a small bowl, combine the spices and chopped nuts.
- Drizzle a heavy coating of maple syrup on each sweet potato and then sprinkle the topping generously on each.
- Bake them for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
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