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Friday, November 05, 2010

Dr. Weil's Simple Roasted Root Vegetables

Dr. Andrew Weil
Mark Peterman for The New York Times Dr. Andrew Weil
Dr. Weil's Simple Roasted Root Vegetables
Sometime the best foods at Thanksgiving are the simplest, cooked in their natural state with minimal spices to let the original flavor shine through.

That's certainly the case with the latest contribution to the Eat Well Vegetarian Thanksgiving series. The recipe comes from Dr. Andrew Weil, the popular alternative health physician who espouses the power of healthful eating and simple living as the best way to improve health. When I asked Dr. Weil for a recipe this year, he offered an "easy and good" dish of roasted root vegetables lightly seasoned with paprika or chili powder. Cooking, he says, should focus on "really good food from fresh ingredients without spending a lot of time, work or money on it."

In addition to Dr. Weil's roasted root vegetable dish, I've also included his Thanksgiving contribution from last year, a robust squash soup garnished with walnut-cilantro pesto. And go to Vegetarian Thanksgiving to see all the recipes published in the series so far.

Dr. Andrew Weil's
Thanksgiving Roasted Root Veggies

1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 to 2 pounds root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, beets, sweet potatoes)
1 medium onion, peeled, in 1/4-inch wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika or mild red chile powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Put vegetables (except garlic) in a bowl. Toss with the oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika or chile.

3. Spread the veggies in a roasting pan. (Do not crowd the pieces; use two pans if necessary.) Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and evenly browned, 45 to 50 minutes.

4. Add garlic cloves during the last 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Dr. Andrew Weil's
Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup

1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut, buttercup or kabocha; peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and red chili powder to taste
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and chili powder. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

2. Put half of the vegetables and 2 cups of the broth in a food processor and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth. Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.

3. Serve in warm bowls with dollops of cilantro-walnut pesto.

Dr. Andrew Weil's
Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups cilantro leaves, washed, drained and stemmed
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and grind them fine.

2. Add the cilantro, jalapeño, salt, vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and blend. Blend in a little more water if necessary to make a thick sauce. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.


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