There’s nothing more satisfying during the colder months than a warm, hearty meal of seasonal root vegetables fresh from the soil. They have such grounding, nourishing properties and provide everything we need to stay energised throughout autumn and winter. Basically, the ultimate comfort food.
Root vegetables such as parsnips, squash, potatoes, turnips and beets are rich in essential nutrients – sweet potatoes and carrots provide vitamin C, while parsnips contain potassium and magnesium. This abundance of minerals does wonders for your body, providing warmth and aiding relaxation throughout a bitterly cold English winter.
If you’re interested in learning more about the hormonal benefits of cooked root vegetables, this post by One Green Planet is a must-read. I find that I naturally begin to crave these foods around September – it’s amazing how connected we are to the seasons and weather. When I listen to my body and eat intuitively, I instinctively gravitate towards the most beneficial sources of nutrients.
The leaves have begun to fall and the days are getting cooler, so head on down to your nearest farmer’s market and pick up some locally grown produce. If you’re in need of a little recipe inspiration, look no further!
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing
- ½ of a butternut squash or pumpkin, chopped
- ½ a large onion, diced
- Two parsnips, chopped
- One leek, chopped
- Two large handfuls of kale
- Two large handfuls of spinach
- 150g field mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Two carrots, chopped
- 150g Brussels sprouts
- ½ a head of broccoli, chopped
- Two cups of quinoa
- ½ a cup of pumpkin seeds
- One tablespoon of cumin
- One tablespoon of paprika
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Two heads of garlic
- A handful of cashew nuts
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- One tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- Two teaspoons of olive oil
- Six tablespoons of water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the chopped vegetables (excluding the spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds and quinoa) into a large bowl along with the olive oil, cumin and paprika.
- Mix well to thoroughly combine and ensure that each piece of vegetable is coated. Place on a baking tray and pop in the oven to roast for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, it’s time to prepare the garlic dressing! Take the garlic heads and cut the tips off, so that the ends of the cloves are exposed. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and then wrap them individually in tinfoil. Place in the oven along with the vegetables to roast for 40 minutes.
- Put the kettle on and then pour the boiling water into a small pot on medium heat. Add the cashews and leave to boil for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Pour four cups of boiling water into a separate pot and add the quinoa. Cook on a medium heat for around 15-20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
- Blend the roasted garlic, cashew nuts, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, water and salt and pepper together until you’re left with a smooth, creamy dressing.
- Lay a bed of spinach and kale in two separate bowls, then place a generous helping of roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle with the garlic dressing and sprinkle pumpkin seeds all over.
Autumn is by far my favourite season, and I can’t get enough of the soil-grown vegetables that are abundant at this time of year. Everything tastes better when there are leaves on the ground and a chilly breeze in the air!
How are you celebrating the colder months?