Winter Vegetables with a Taste of Spring

By Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN

Like turning straw into gold, maple trees weave their magic by converting starch into golden syrup. With the recipe below, you can enhance the subtly sweet nature of roasted carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes by roasting them in an all-natural maple syrup glaze. Serve the vegetables as a side dish, or make them into a main course by mixing with wild rice, cranberries and toasted pecans.

Send Winter’s Famous Root Vegetables Off
With a Kiss of Spring’s Sensational Maple Syrup

Distinguish between different varieties of maple syrup by looking at their grades. Unlike in school, however, these grades have nothing to do with quality. They correspond to the color and flavor of the syrup. It’s usually easier to find Grade A light and medium amber syrups, but keep an eye out for the darker, thicker, richer varieties like my personal favorite: Grade B.

If you can, visit your local farmers market and ask for a taste of each. That’s how I’ve learned about the different flavors. (Thank you to the Burlington, Vermont, farmers market!)

Here’s an easy guide to Maple Syrup Grades (information from the Huffington Post).

• Grade A Light Amber: Light flavor, light color, thin consistency.
• Grade A Medium Amber: Stronger and darker than Grade A, but still with light flavor and thin consistency.
• Grade A Dark Amber: Very Rich flavor, deep golden color, thick consistency.
• Grade B: Strong maple flavor, thick consistency. If you love maple syrup, you’ll love pouring this on your pancakes and adding it to baked goods.

Maple syrup-kissed roasted vegetables
(Recipe by Caroline Kaufman, MS, RD)

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
Your favorite cooked rice or whole grain (like wild rice, quinoa, or whole wheat couscous)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper to coat. Place vegetables in a foil-lined baking sheet or tinfoil pan and bake for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the maple syrup over the veggies and mix to coat. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes until the vegetables are tender and have started to brown. Add chopped pecans and cook for 3 more minutes until lightly toasted. Serve over a mix of grains and dried cranberries.
Serves 3 as a main course.

Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN, is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, media spokesperson, freelance writer, and blogger. She helps people learn how to eat well and organize their lives to optimize health and support inner calm. Her advice has been featured in numerous publications and news outlets like Health, Fox News, EatingWell,  Real Simple, and LA Talk Live! RadioFor more information, please visit her blog at http://www.carolinekaufman.com.

The articles written by guest contributors are the sole responsibility of the individual writers in terms of factual accuracy and opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of this blog.

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