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Root veggies offer lots of options for winter

Dietitian Becky Varner says winter is perfect for celebrating fresh roots and tubers.
BY BECKY VARNER Modified: January 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013

Choose turnips that are smooth, firm, well-formed, small to medium in size and heavy for their size and that have no indication of bruising or decay. Many people remove the skin but it is edible.

Fresh beets should be smooth-skinned, firm and small to medium in size. They range in color from red or purple to white. If the leaves are attached they should be deep green and crisp. The skin on beets is edible but should be well scrubbed.

Parsnips are shaped like carrots but are a creamy white color. They should be small to medium in size, firm, smooth and well-shaped. Avoid the large ones because they may have a woody core and avoid those with cracks.

There are many varieties of potatoes that can be roasted but all should be firm and smooth, with no wrinkles, sprouts, bruises, decay, cracks or bitter green areas.

Sweet potatoes range in color from pale skin with light yellow flesh to dark orange or red skin and flesh. They should be nicely shaped, firm and smooth with even-colored skins.

We chose to add garlic bulbs to our roasted vegetables for added flavor. Each garlic bulb is made up of many smaller cloves that are encased in tight papery white or pinkish skins. Choose plumb bulbs and avoid using cloves with brown spots or green sprouts.

Here's how we roasted our vegetables.

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon dried sage

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup carrots cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup turnips cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup beets cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup parsnips cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup potatoes cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup sweet potatoes cut in 1-inch chunks

3 garlic heads with outside papery skins removed but keep heads intact

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Cover an 8½ x 11 inch baking dish or pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with a nonstick cooking spray.

• Combine oil, sage and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix.

• Add chunks of carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and garlic heads. Toss well to coat all pieces with oil mixture.

• Place vegetables in a single layer on aluminum foil on baking dish or pan.

• Bake for 30 minutes and turn. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden.

• Separate cloves in garlic head and remove remaining papery skins before serving.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 6 one-cup servings. Each serving contains approximately 152 calories and 5 grams fat.

Serving Suggestion: Roasted vegetables make a wonderful side dish to serve with poultry, beef or pork. Choose your favorite vegetables to make interesting medley combinations.

Heart Healthy Choices

Becky will teach Heart Healthy Choices on Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell in Edmond. Class size is limited, call 302-6273 ext. 332 for reservations.

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