Roasted Gold Beets & Sweet Potatoes
While shopping at Whole Foods Market last week, I ran across one of my favorite vegetables – gold beets. At only $1.99 per bunch (organic), I just couldn’t pass them up. Like a kid in a candy store, I eagerly scooped up two bunches, thinking how delicious they would be freshly roasted and what a wonderful supporting ingredient any leftovers would be in a salad of mixed greens. Yes, I had great plans for these uniquely yellow root vegetables.
Well, as I was going through my fridge this afternoon looking for things that needed to be used up right away, I stunned to my beloved beets lying there looking abandoned. They had somehow been shoved to the back of the fridge. Ugh! Thank goodness I found them in time. The good news is that, luckily, they were still in good condition. The bad news is that their leaves were pretty much unusable. I had unknowingly left them uncovered, which caused them to become partially wilted from too many days of exposure. So sad, not only because I hate waste, but also because I had definite plans of sautéing them in olive oil with onions and a bit of fresh garlic. A simple, yet delightful complementary dish.
So, I quickly gathered both bunches of beets, chopped off their leaves, washed them, peeled them and diced them nicely. There was also a lone sweet potato that I hadn’t found a specific use for, so I chopped it up and threw it in, too, along with a couple of sliced yellow onion. I absolutely love roasted veggies. Though I’ve roasted quite a few in my day, I had never roasted these particular veggies together, but something told me this was probably a good combination.
I can hardly find the words to express the intense goodness of this trio. Each vegetable on its own is superb, but the combination of all three simply defies description. I think the best I can say is that, like me, they are complex in their simplicity. I am still amazed at the concentrated depth of flavor produced by a level of caramelization that can only be achieved by the roasting process. It is simply unmatched!
Unlike most of the dishes featured here, there is no actual recipe for this one. I simply put everything in a large bowl, drizzled in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, added sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and mixed until everything was well coated. This is the same process I use when roasting most veggies, unless I want the added flavor of rosemary, thyme or other herbs. I then placed them on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees (pre-heated, of course) for about an hour. That’s it.
So, tonight’s dinner turned out to be a simple vegan one. Earlier this afternoon, I made a pot of black-eyed peas that I plan to use in a couple of dishes later this week. Since there was more than enough for both dishes, I decided to pair some of the peas with the roasted beets and sweet potatoes. Its simplicity notwithstanding, this was one of the most delicious and satisfying meals I’ve had all week. A bit of healthy southern comfort, indeed!