Friday recipe: roasted root vegetables

Last night I joined other members of the DMU community for a showing of Robert Kenner’s 2008 Emmy Award-winning film, “Food, Inc.,” which explores our industrial food system. Dominated by just a handful of mega-corporations, this system prioritizes uniformity, conformity, efficiency and cheapness in ways that reduce good nutrition, abuse workers and animals, endanger the environment, suck flavor and threaten just about everything else we should value. It makes a compelling case that consumers can change the system with their food purchases, including by choosing locally grown produce and meat. Kudos to DMU’s Medical Humanities Special Interest Group, Conservation and Sustainability Committee and Holistic Medicine Club for bringing the movie to campus!

The movie gives me yet another reason – not that I needed one – to trek to this Saturday’s Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market, 7 a.m. to noon on Court Avenue between First and Fifth streets. This is the market’s last session of the season, a great excuse to stock up on locally produced fruits and vegetables, salsa, jam, baked goods and much more. Plus it’s simply a fun and festive event!

“Food, Inc.” and local farmers markets inspire this week’s recipe, another easy, healthy and flexible concoction you can tailor to your tastes. Switch out the vegetables for what you like; change the seasonings if you prefer cumin, mustard, cayenne, basil, sage, turmeric or whatever. Whatever you use, you’ll feel good you’re eating something healthy for you and for our planet.

Roasted root vegetables

  • Olive oil
  • Half head of cauliflower (okay, I know this isn’t a root vegetable, but it works!)
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 purple turnip, peeled
  • 8 Brussels sprouts, brown ends cut off and yellow outer leaves removed
  • Black pepper
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, or to taste, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and black pepper to taste. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes; stir and then roast 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and toss with the minced garlic and chopped ginger. Return to the oven for a final 15 minutes. Devour.

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