What the heck is a root vegetable, and why did my pee turn pink?!

OK, lets just get this out of the way…not all vegetables grow above ground.  I know, you are shocked!  Really though, it’s true.  Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Parsnips, and many others are roots…yup, and you eat them!  Beware of the dirt…it’s dirty…and your food comes from there…ooooooo…it’s like a Halloween nightmare!!!

Ok, seriously though, this stuff is delicious and you should try them.  I promise it’s not scary!  There are many ways to cook them, but my favorite is to roast them because they get just soft enough on the inside, but not mushy.  I also leave all of the skins on because they hold valuable nutrients, and there is really no point in removing them if you are buying chemical free and you rinse the dirt off.

This is probably a good time to give you my beet disclaimer: Beets are sweet and delicious and totally worth it, but be careful because they are red and they will stain everything, including clothes, cutting boards, your other ingredients, and your skin, so rinse your hands often when you are chopping them, or you will be pink!  Also, don’t freak out the day after you eat them…what goes in pink comes out pink…you are not having a medical emergency and doctors WILL laugh at you if you make an appointment for beet pee!

Here is a basic recipe to get you started, but you can experiment with other seasonings and vegetables and see what you like.  There will be many more recipes to come as we are entering the fall/winter market season!

Roasted Root Vegetables & Brussels Sprouts


  • 1-2 large beets
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 large carrots
  • 12 brussels sprouts cut in half (not a root vegetable, but delicious, no matter what the other kids tell you!)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cube your vegetables to your liking, but keep them all about the same size so that they cook evenly.  I usually just cut the brussels sprouts in half.
  3. Toss the veggies with enough olive oil to lightly coat them and then toss in your herbs and spices.
  4. Spread the veggies out on a single layer on a cookie sheet and cook for about 20 mins at 350 degrees.
  5. Depending on the thickness they may need a little more time, but toss them again and try one so you don’t over cook.  They should be soft on the inside but still hold their form and not be mushy.

8 responses to “What the heck is a root vegetable, and why did my pee turn pink?!

  1. I love your blog. It is right up my alley!!! Here is another recipe to add to your collection for beets:

    Roasted Golden Beets with Honey Glaze Salad
    For the Beets: Cube beets (as you do in recipe above). Combine equal parts honey and walnut oil (olive oil works if you don’t have walnut) – enough to coat beets – and whisk together. Toss beets in the oil/honey mixture and lay out on baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly salt. Roast as you normally would time/temp wise. Cool slightly when done roasting.

    For the vinaigrette: I sort of wing these by tossing together a bunch of stuff! For this, I used sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar would work too), a walnut oil, honey, a little bit of dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Whisk together, adjusting to taste. (note: if the walnut flavor is too pronounced, you can use half olive oil or just use all olive oil if you prefer).

    Toss some salad greens (mesclun, arugula, bib lettuce or any other yummy green) lightly with the vinaigrette. Plate the greens, placing the beets on top
    and adding crumbles of goat cheese. Eat and enjoy!

    You can add lots of stuff to this salad to make it even more delicious, but it’s great in its simplicity and nice enough for dinner party food! Oh…and it’s still good if the beets are completely cooled. I just prefer that little bit of warmth – makes the goat cheese just a touch melty and delicious!

  2. This looks wonderful, and would be even better with parsnip. The sweetness that appears when you roast parsnip always amazes me.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love the recipe, simple and easy, yet so good. I roasted some squash last night with jalepenos and garlic. I know, sounds weird right? It was actually delicious, the peppers will start to caramelize and add a rich smoky flavor to the sweet squash.

    Also, I always roast my beets whole and then peel them, I think that’s a more traditional way to cook them. Beet skins can literally taste like dirt, and are kinda tough…I’m not a huge fan of the skins.

    • I’ve never actually roasted a whole beet before, I may need to try that now! I like chopping everything because it cooks evenly. Beet skins have never bothered me, but I always love the skin on a baked potato too and some people don’t…to each their own I guess. Thanks for the jalapeno squash idea too!

  4. Love beets! I just made a beet risotto on Sunday. It’s one of my favorite fall meals. YUM. Below is my go-to recipie for it (I’ve “lightened it up” a bit, but the original recipie called for more butter & cream). I also usually grill up a chicken breast to go on top of the risotto, and voila – you’ve got a whole meal! 🙂

    4 cups (1-inch) cubed, boiled/roasted beets without the skin (I’m with Brett – I roast/boil with the skins on and then they come off really easily)
    5 1/2 to 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1 tablespoon butter
    ~1 lg onion chopped
    2 cups Arborio rice (or other medium-grain rice)
    1/2 cup dry white wine (red works too)
    1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1. Place 1 cup beets and 1 cup broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Combine puree and remaining broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

    2. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook until tender. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining puree mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in remaining beets; cook 2 minutes.

    3. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, cream, salt, and pepper. Transfer risotto to a bowl. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

    P.S. I’ve also tried this recipie subbing squash, peas, and many other veggies for the beets. All delicous!

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