December is root vegetable month
Did you know that December is “Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month”…I didn’t, but it is according to the National Day Calendar (1)!
To observe this annual designation, here’s a simple recipe with root vegetables – but first, let’s take a look at some health benefits of consuming this dish.
Health benefits of carrots, parsnips, and onions
Carrots are rich in antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein which protect against free radicals that can damage our cells and cause premature aging, and chronic illness (2). Orange carrots are high in beta carotene which the body converts into vitamin A, while yellow carrots are higher in lutein, found to be protective against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (3). Further, vitamin A, and its precursors, are fat-soluble, so the avocado oil and seeds in this recipe will help the body to absorb this vitamin.
Parsnips are related to carrots but these root veggies have a sweet and slightly nutty flavor. Parsnips are rich in fiber which has been found to lower blood sugar levels and have an anti-cancer effect on the body (5) (6). Parsnips also contain good amounts of vitamin C and folate as well as many other nutrients like vitamin B1, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium (4).
Onions, closely related to garlic and scallions, have many health benefits attributed to them which are due, mainly, to their high content of antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds (7). One of the beneficial plant compounds found in onions is quercetin (flavonoid) which has been found to reduce blood pressure and may improve heart health (8). The sulfides and polysulfides found in these allium vegetables have shown anti-cancer effects (9). Onions also contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Rosemary carrots & parsnips with toasted cumin seeds recipe
1 lb. carrots, cut diagonally
1 lb. parsnips, cut diagonally
1 small onion, sliced into wedges
2 tbsp. avocado oil
2 tbsp. toasted cumin seeds
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. lime/lemon juice
2 tbsp. rosemary, chopped
sea salt, and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large baking dish combine the carrots, parsnips, onion, oil, cumin seeds, garlic, rosemary, and sea salt and pepper, and toss. Cover and bake until the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for about 15 minutes longer or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the lime or lemon juice, toss and serve. (Serves 4-6)
Here’s another root vegetable recipe.