Oven roasted rosemary root vegetables is the perfect Whole Food Plant Based side dish. The vegetables are nutritious and delightfully savory with a dash of rosemary and a sweet hint of glorious maple syrup.
Hi there! Robin here!
Let me first say that roasting vegetables without oil does present a few challenges; however, Monkey and I are excited to say, we have crafted a perfect roasting sequence – Woo hoo! Our method is easy to follow and will ensure great results.
Oh, and have you ever smelled rosemary as it starts to warm in the oven? It is delightfully fragrant and draws you in with its earthy bouquet. We just love rosemary, especially with roasted veggies. Not to mention, rosemary is equally known for a whole range of health benefits. The herb is associated with its ability to boost memory, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and help detoxify the body.
So we got a little adventuresome (for us) with this recipe. We had never used Japanese sweet potatoes before, but I was immediately drawn to them in the grocery store by their vibrant reddish-purple skin. They were oh so beautiful; I couldn’t resist.
Since going Whole Food Plant Based, I think it is important to make food visually appealing. Especially when you are trying to convert someone to move toward the Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle – meaning my husband, TP109. TP pretty much eats Whole Food Plant Based simply because that is what is cook in our home. He loves the food, but he hasn’t personally made the commitment to WFPB. Don’t worry, I am still working on him though.
I was planning to use sweet potatoes (which I did), but I also added a few of these beautiful Japanese sweet potatoes to the mix. I am glad I did, but you can totally just use regular sweet potatoes if you are unable to find Japanese ones at your local grocery.
I don’t know about you, but if I can consolidate dishes, it’s a total win! Who doesn’t like less dishes to wash? So, when we roast large amounts of veggies, we really like using those very large baking sheets. You know those really, really, big ones? Ours is 14×20. It is a perfect investment when on the Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle-diet as it gets a ton of use. You can find them just about anywhere for less than $25.00. We have two, and they are in constant use.
We use two different roasting methods, largely dependent on the desired end-result. With this recipe, we loaded the prepped vegetables onto the baking dish, seasoned them with sea salt* (optional-but see note below) and pepper, then tightly covered the pans with foil and put them in the oven for 20 minutes.
How is this a better method? It allows the vegetables to steam without drying out for the first part of the roasting process.
After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, take off the foil, and sprinkle with beautifully crushed rosemary and lightly drizzle some maple syrup over the vegetables. Oh my, my, my, does that rosemary smell divine when it hits the hot veggies and the baking sheet. Now couple that with the simple sweetness of pure maple syrup and you just created a heavenly combination.
Maple Syrup Coating – Mmmmmm
The part of this recipe that requires patience and attention to detail is when you need to carefully and gently move the sweet potatoes around the baking sheet to pick up the lusciousness of the maple syrup that has dripped on the baking sheet. You want to coat all sides of the sweet potato. You do this for several reasons: 1) It makes the sweet potatoes look pretty. 2) The maple syrup caramelizes and creates this beautifully sweet coating of goodness all over the sweet potato.
Next place the uncovered sweet potatoes back in the oven under the broiler. Why broil after roasting? Broiling gives the potatoes an extra tiny bit of crustiness on the potatoes that would normally have been created by oil. Without oil, it is not quite the same, but close enough. We are very happy with the results!
As Mom mentioned, we roast a ton of vegetables; plus, roasted vegetables are hearty and really fill you up. Growing up, Mom always used rosemary to season dishes. Consider purchasing a really fragrant, dried rosemary. Personally, I like to purchase dried whole rosemary, then crush it in a mortar and pestle to release the fragrance and flavor.
Rosemary pairs perfectly with roasted vegetables. If you have never used rosemary before on roasted vegetables, I suggest going very lightly, then taste-testing the flavor before adding more to this dish at the very end as the recipe instructions indicate.
Also, don’t forget to check out our Harvest Salad. It is an absolutely gorgeous and tasty salad. We all freaked out on how amazing it turned out; and it uses an oil-free salad dressing. My dad was eating it straight from the huge serving bowl – LOL.
- 14 x 20 baking sheet
- Mortar & pestle
Oven roasted rosemary root vegetables is the perfect whole food plant based side dish. The vegetables are nutritious and delightfully savory with a dash of rosemary and a sweet hint of glorious maple syrup.
- 3 Japanese sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise, skin on
- 1 sweet potato, sliced lengthwise, skin on
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, cut into cubes
- 1 large red onion, cut into eighths, with end intact*
- Organic maple syrup
- Crushed rosemary
- Sea salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the vegetables and place onto a large baking sheet. *
- Season the vegetables with sea salt and pepper.
- Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes. This will allow the vegetables to steam and not dry out since there is no oil.
- After 20 minutes, remove from the oven. Remove the foil and sprinkle the vegetables with crushed rosemary. Then very lightly drizzle maple syrup over the vegetables and place back into the oven for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Then gently move the sweet potatoes around the baking sheet and slide them around into the maple syrup that is on the bottom of the baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself. You are trying to lightly coat all sides of the sweet potatoes with the maple syrup that is on the bottom of the baking sheet. Also, be very careful not to break the sweet potatoes in half or in pieces.
- Now move the oven rack to the top of the oven, and switch the oven from bake to a high broil; then place the baking tray back into the oven to finish roasting the vegetables. This will take approx. 5-10 minutes. At this point, you want to check the tenderness of the thickest vegetable by poking it with a sharp knife. Once the vegetables are browned and soft, remove from the oven.
- Lightly sprinkle with a tiny bit more crushed rosemary and sea salt.
*Red Onion: By leaving the end of the onion intact, this will allow the onion pieces to stay together while roasting.
*Large Baking Sheet: Use a large baking sheet or two smaller baking sheets and then take turns using the broiler on each individual baking sheet.
Storage: Store any left overs in the refrigerator, but we also have an amazing Harvest Roasted Root Vegetable Salad made from this recipe’s leftovers that Monkey created that is sure to knock your socks off.