Root vegetables are super-healthy because they grow underground and absorb many of the nutrients in the soil. They are high in fiber, antioxidants and low in calories. Root veggies include yams, potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, ginger, turmeric, jicama, celery root (or celeriac), Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, yuca, salsify, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, horseradish, daikon, and radishes.

Most root vegetables are available year round, but the peak season is fall through spring, with the exception of beets, which taste best during summer through fall. However, turnips and rutabagas taste best during the winter months. Most types of root vegetables should be cooked rather than eaten raw. It’s best to roast or steam root veggies. I also like to mash them like potatoes or make baked chips using a colorful variety.

Ingredients (choose organic when available):

  • 3 cups parsnips, scrubbed or peeled, then sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 3 cups carrots, scrubbed or peeled, then sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 cups rutabaga, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 cups *beets, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius.

Place vegetables in a steamer basket. Add an inch of water to a large saucepan pan and insert the steamer basket.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Cover and reduce heat to medium.

Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until half-cooked. Alternatively, place vegetables in a loosely covered microwavable dish with ½ inch water and microwave for 4 minutes.

Drain vegetables and evenly toss with thyme or rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt.

Spread vegetables on a non-stick or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender.

*Smaller beets tend to be sweeter than larger ones. Save the beet greens and steam them for another meal.

Nutritional Facts per serving (based on 6 servings): 115 calories, 2 grams fat, 280 miligrams sodium, 642 milligrams potassium, 23.8 grams carbohydrate, 6.3 grams dietary fiber, 2.3 grams protein. Excellent source of vitamins A and C.

For more healthy recipes and a diet geared towards optimal health and weight loss without deprivation, pick up a copy of Layne’s book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.

Bon appétit!