Good Food/Good Health
Week of November 21, 2005

Roasted Vegetables for Thanksgiving

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

A platter of oven-roasted vegetables can be a welcome relief on the Thanksgiving groaning board. They can provide a savory but simple contrast to the many dishes competing for the palate's attention this time of year.

Roasting is an easy but wonderful, low-fat way to prepare many fall vegetables, giving them a sweet, rich flavor. The greater the variety, the more layered the flavors, textures and eye appeal. Try roasting bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, squash, beets and eggplant. Or create a combination that appeals to you in flavor and color.

Start by cutting the vegetables into small chunks and brush them with a little olive oil to prevent drying. Then season with herbs and spices. Use rosemary with onions and mushrooms, thyme with eggplant and potatoes, basil with tomatoes, and dill with beets. Parsley, chives, chervil and marjoram can be used with a combination of many different vegetables. During the roasting, basting the vegetables occasionally with chicken stock, orange or apple juice, or low-fat Italian dressing.

The density and size of the vegetable determines the cooking time. Tomatoes, summer squash and eggplant take less time than onions, peppers and winter squash. Potatoes and carrots need more time, and beets and pumpkins even longer. Depending on how small the pieces, the quicker-cooking veggies may take as little as 10 to 15 minutes, and can be roasted at 325 to 375 degrees, while others do better at 375 to 400. They're done when they have a nice brown color and can be easily pierced with a fork.

Root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips, which reach their peak at this time of the year, release rich, sweet flavors and aromas as they oven-roast. And, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, root vegetables also contain substances that fight cancer and help strengthen our resistance to other health problems.

Autumn Roasted Vegetables

3 carrots, unpeeled, cut in 1-inch pieces
9 small white button mushrooms
2 cups Brussels sprouts (halved, if large)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss vegetables with the oil, thyme and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place vegetables in a roasting pan. Pour broth into the pan. Roast 45 minutes, stirring and turning every 10 to 15 minutes.

When vegetables are almost tender, raise oven heat to 425 degrees and continue roasting 10 to 15 minutes more or until vegetables are browned and tender.

Remove from oven, drain off any excess liquid, and serve hot, garnished with pecans.

Makes 4 servings.Per serving: 116 calories, 4 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 18 g. carbohydrate, 4 g. protein, 4 g. dietary fiber, 250 mg. sodium.

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AICR offers a Nutrition Hotline (1-800-843-8114) Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, a free service that allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. The Institute provides a range of education programs that help millions of Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. The Institute has provided more than $65 million in funding for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International. All active news articles