With Thanksgiving and other major holidays right around the corner, it can be a challenge to decide what food to bring to a family get-together. If you’ve been learning how to bake pies and tarts it may be an obvious choice to opt for a dessert, but if you’re concerned about health you might consider cooking a vegetable or other nutritious side. Of course, then the difficulty is finding a dish that will stand out from those made by your friends and family. Odds are someone will bring sides such as sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce, and unless you’re hosting, the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing are probably already covered. One relatively healthy option that still has a lot of flavor is a roasted vegetable such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots or squash. Although these sides are still relatively common, you can separate your side from the rest by adding rarely used veggies such as parsnips or daikon. That way, there’s no chance that you and your friends and family are doubled up on sides at this year’s holiday feast.
Here is a simple recipe for balsamic-roasted carrots and parsnips courtesy of Southern Living:
- 1 package feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped dried sweet cherries
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots
- 1 1/2 pounds parsnips
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, toss together feta cheese, dried sweet cherries, flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest and crushed red pepper with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cut the carrots and parsnips into thin strips lengthwise.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and the remaining olive oil. Put the carrot and parsnip strips in the bowl and toss. Spread the vegetables evenly on a lightly greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Add salt and pepper to preference.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir about once every 15 minutes. When you remove the carrots and parsnips from the oven, transfer to a serving tray and toss in the feta cheese blend.
Pro tip: When adding salt and pepper prior to baking, remember that you’ll be adding feta cheese before serving. Feta is very salty cheese, so you want to make sure not to overdo it.