I’m thinking through ideas for Thanksgiving menus and a roasted fall vegetable dish is always a great addition with little effort to prepare. Cool weather vegetables are naturally loaded with flavor so not much is required to coax that from them. Roasting is a great way for the vegetables to cook perfectly still retaining a good texture (I can’t take mushy vegetables unless they are mashed potatoes!). Simple seasonings such as olive oil, and fresh herbs are all that is required to make the dish complete.
I decided to combine Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and carrots largely because they are complimented by similar herbs. I will confess only since I’ve been a (more recent) adult have I embraced Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes for that matter. The Brussels sprouts, which are essentially tiny cabbages, often fall prey to poor cooking methods leaving them with a pungent aroma and bitter taste. When roasted however they have almost a nutty overtone and nice bite that I love.
Sweet potatoes have patiently waited for me to come around after a horrifying introduction on Thanksgiving tables of my youth. The classic Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole was almost the nail in the coffin of our potential relationship. I would refer to the ‘orange juice potatoes’ believing that someone had mixed orange juice into the mashed potatoes to both color and flavor them. They were way too sweet for me. It was when I began to make them with spicy, smoky flavors in dishes such as Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin (or this Roasted Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup with Bacon Bits) that I fell in love and I enjoy them now immensely.
This simple vegetable dish is seasoned with fresh thyme leaves, nutmeg, lemon zest, garlic as well as tamari sauce and balsamic vinegar. For those unfamiliar with tamari, it’s a gluten-free version of fermented soy sauce. I find it a bit less salty as well, but that aspect is a bit of splitting hairs.
The vegetables can be prepared ahead of time and sealed in the refrigerator, leaving only the tossing with the seasonings and liquids, and roasting for the day of serving. Leftover roasted vegetables are great pureed into a soup base or into a pasta sauce such as this one which was made with grilled vegetables.
Roasted fall vegetables with simple herbs, lemon zest, and garlic always make a deeply flavorful side dish that is easy to prepare. The combination of Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and carrots makes a wonderful medley of flavor as well as a colorful combination to adorn the dinner table.
- 1 pound Brussels Sprouts; the end trimmed (new cut) and but in half lengthwise if large
- 1 pound Sweet Potatoes; peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 12 ounces Carrots; peeled and sliced no larger than 1/2-inch thick (if using a very thick carrot, cut the slice into quarters to make pieces bite-size)
- 6 medium Garlic Cloves, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves (stems discarded)
- 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
- Zest from 1 small Lemon
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Tamari sauce (if not gluten-free traditional soy sauce may be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the Brussel’s sprouts, sweet potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with the garlic, thyme, nutmeg and lemon zest; toss to combine.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and tamari. Spoon over the vegetables and using a large mixing spoon, turn the vegetables over in the bowl until coated. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet in one layer.
- Sprinkle with the salt and cook for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potatoes have a firm but cooked texture.
More great side dishes: