Sukkot Unprocessed (Roasted Root Vegetables)

Tori Avey’s blog, The Shiksa in the Kitchen, explores the history of Jewish cuisine as well as other historical culinary topics. She focuses on the story behind the food — why we eat what we eat, how cultural foods have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. She also shares free kosher recipes that include step-by-step photos. Her food writing and photography has appeared on the websites of CNN, Bon Appetit, PBS Food, Zabars, LA Weekly and The Huffington Post. She’s also been a featured guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio, the Joan Hamburg Show, and Chef Jamie Gwen’s radio program. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Roasted Root Vegetables

I’m so excited to guest post for Andrew here at Eating Rules! I love Andrew’s blog, and I’m happy to share a simple and delicious recipe with you. Many of you may not be familiar with my blog, so here’s a little background. I’m a convert to Judaism; I write about Jewish food and food history. My favorite thing to do is study the story behind what we’re cooking; I’m a “culinary anthropologist,” so to speak. For most of the recipes I post, I give some background on how that recipe came to be. In that way, my approach to food connects to what Andrew is doing here with October Unprocessed. I like to deconstruct recipes and find out where they started—how they were originally made, from scratch. I’m always curious about how regional dishes have evolved, what kinds of shortcuts were invented along the way, and how we can break recipes down to keep them as close to the original as possible. Usually, I find that the “original” version of a dish is largely unprocessed—the further back in history you go, the less processed foods existed. While not all of my recipes are unprocessed, many are, particularly the Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Sephardic Jewish dishes. I’m enjoying the challenge of “keeping it real” this month… I hope you are, too!

If you’ll indulge me, before we start cooking, I’d like to briefly discuss the weeklong Jewish holiday happening right now — it’s called Sukkot. While not as widely known or celebrated as some other Jewish holidays, Sukkot is a very important part of the Jewish experience. Historically many important events have occurred during Sukkot, including King Solomon’s dedication of the First Temple of Jerusalem. Sukkot is the perfect holiday complement to October Unprocessed, because it’s all about the autumn harvest. Sukkot menus feature vegetables and fruits that are harvested at the turn of the season. As a food lover, this holiday is one of my favorites because we are encouraged to create dishes from fresh, seasonal ingredients. The arrival of Sukkot ushers in the autumn season; foods are inspired by the bounty of the harvest.

To celebrate, I thought I’d share a simple and tasty seasonal recipe today – Oven Roasted Root Vegetables. I love this side dish; it’s simple, unprocessed, vegan, gluten free, and full of flavor. It’s also really adaptable; you can use any combination of root veggies you like. If you don’t like yams, substitute plain potatoes. Not a fan of parsnip? Use two carrots instead. I included butternut squash in the mix (not a root vegetable) because it has a natural buttery sweetness that perfectly complements the roots. You could use another type of squash if you prefer. This is a great way to clear out your produce drawer or your CSA box, and the process could not be easier.

A couple of hints… if you use red beets in this recipe, keep in mind that the roasting will release a pinkish juice that will color the other vegetables. The color doesn’t bother me– in fact, I think it’s kind of pretty. However, if you’d rather not have pinkish veggies, use golden beets or omit the beets completely. I’ve found that the toughest part of prepping this dish is peeling and seeding the butternut squash. Go ahead and buy pre-peeled and cubed squash if you can find it. It’ll save you a lot of prep time and effort. Or you could substitute pumpkin, which is a little easier to slice up.

I like to keep my seasonings simple in this dish. Root veggies have such earthy, wonderful flavors that I prefer to taste them in their “naked” glory. I only use salt, pepper, and fresh thyme to season them. For more flavor, you could sprinkle them with rosemary, oregano, a little garlic powder, fresh chopped parsley, or even a splash of balsamic vinegar. Feel free to use your culinary imagination!

Roasted Root Vegetables

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Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves: 5-6 side portions
  • 1 bunch of Beets (1 lb.), red or golden, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Butternut Squash (1-2 lbs.) peeled and seeded
  • 1 large Yam, peeled
  • 1 large Parsnip, peeled
  • 1 large Carrot, peeled
  • ½ Red Onion
  • 6-8 whole Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Cut all vegetables (except garlic) into 1½ inch chunks.
  3. Toss vegetables in a large bowl with garlic cloves, thyme leaves, and olive oil until evenly coated.
  4. Spread vegetables out evenly on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle vegetables generously with salt and lots of black pepper.
  5. Roast the vegetables in the hot oven for about 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through
  6. cooking, until vegetables are tender and starting to turn golden. Serve hot.
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover

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12 Responses to Sukkot Unprocessed (Roasted Root Vegetables)

  1. Amber K Lee October 19, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Is the sea salt used in this recipe, coarse or fine?

  2. OMG! Yummy October 19, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Love the title of your blog and your focus on the history and story behind the recipes! Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite things to do all year. My kids love when I roast tomatoes for sauce — they lick the plate clean! Great idea to tie this into Sukkot!

  3. Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen October 19, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Thanks OMG Yummy! :)

    Amber K, you can use either coarse or fine depending on taste preference. I usually prefer fine ground because it seasons the veggies more evenly. That said, I just got some amazing Mediterranean flake salt that I’m looking forward to trying with this recipe next time I make it! Coarse ground salt will add a light crunch. Enjoy the veggies!

  4. Valentina October 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Tori & Andrew — I LOVE this! Gorgeous, healthy, hearty, comforting and I know, delicious!

  5. harriet October 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I make this all year round for the Shabbash Kiddush at the little synagogue I belong to. Instead of foil, I prefer parchment paper, as the veggies don’t stick. Every type of root veggie is acceptable, including radishes; additionally, I scrub the veggies very well and don’t bother peeling them.

    Since we can have anywhere from 10 to 40 folks for the Kiddush, I usually make a full baking sheet of this, and there are never any left overs.

  6. Ann October 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Wonderful! I love vegetables that are roasted…they taste amazing! Beautiful photo and post (as always!)

  7. Liz October 22, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    I eat far more butternut squash since I discovered you can roast it with the skin on and don’t have to go to the hassle of peeling it.

    Your blog sounds very interesting – I’m off to have a look at it now.

  8. Talia Speyer October 22, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Your website sounds entertaining and informative.

  9. Kim Bee November 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    New to Andrew’s site and so glad Tori is guesting here so I could discover a great new place to hang out. Tori this is a wonderful recipe. I love roasted vegetables. The addition of the red onion speaks to me. I can’t get enough of those.

    • Andrew November 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

      Welcome Kim! Glad you’re here. :)


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