Tis the season for family, festivity, and food—lots of food. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel can easily disrupt your daily health building routines. What is worse, it’s pretty much non-stop from now until Jan.
Don’t worry, Dr. Michelle has got your back. (Yeah, I just referred to myself in the 3rd person!)
How do you stick to your healthy nutrition plan when everyone around you seems to be splurging? It takes a little planning…
One of my favorite tricks for navigating the holidays without wrecking my progress towards my goals is to bring a dish that packs an explosion of festive flavor, but still fits into my whole real food plan.
This way, no matter how many bad choices are on the menu, I know that I can grab some protein, and then fill my plate with nutrient packed goodness, plus it feels good knowing that I am also doing something good for those whom I am sharing a meal with.
Trust me, there will be plenty of potatoes topped with marshmallows, gluten filled stuffing, and sugar-packed pies to go around. And don’t worry, I am not suggesting you bring a kale salad or a boring dish that labels you as the weirdo-health-nut.
My go-to dish for holiday gatherings (and even for non-holiday meal prep) is winter roasted vegetables. My version, and the one I am sharing with you today, is Perfectly Paleo Winter Roasted Vegetables.
It’s a colorful, flavorful, and a surprisingly sweet and savory dish that will be a welcome addition to the buffet table.
And, since the holidays are also a super busy time, my dish had to be simple. Plus, with an active 2-year old creating chaos, it helps that this dish basically cooks itself!
Truth be told, this isn’t one of my family recipes. I know it’s customary to share family recipes that have been passed down for generations. But growing up, we didn’t eat many roasted vegetables. We actually didn’t eat many vegetables at all! In fact, at our holiday gatherings side dishes included pasta, lasagna, bread, and stuffing.
It wasn’t until I started getting interested in nutrition that I discovered how a simple roast could transform the taste and texture of any vegetable.
By roasting them in a hot oven – I like 400 degrees Fahrenheit – the natural sugars in the vegetables start to caramelize, and the edges get golden brown.
It could be as simple as tossing a bunch of veggies on a tray, but here are a couple tips that’ll give you rock-star results with your veggie roast – making this recipe worthy of a prime spot on the holiday menu.
Perfect Paleo Winter Roasted Veggie Tips:
First, make space. Overcrowding the baking sheet is the biggest mistake when it comes to roasting your veggies.
When they’re too close together, hot air can’t circulate around, steam gets trapped, and everything ends up a bit soggy. (And that won’t impress anyone!)
I usually use two large baking trays for a good sized batch. If you are cooking for a lot of people, you could use more trays (trust me, these will get gobbled up).
Second, I prefer to roast my veggies on parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Some veggies will really stick to foil, especially around the yummy, caramelized edges. They’ll stick much less to parchment.
And third, they need some kind of oil or fat. I typically use about a tablespoon to every sheet of veggies. My favorite for roasting is avocado oil.
My final tip is to cut the veggies into just the right thickness. Too thin and they’ll burn to a crisp. Too thick and they’ll just get steamy. I aim for 1/4″ to 1/2″ in thickness. The more uniform your slices, the more evenly your oven roasted veggies will cook. And of course, it helps to have a sharp knife for the job.
For this recipe you can use any veggies you like. To make the dish pretty, and to pack the best phytonutrient punch, you’ll want to choose veggies with a wide range of colors…
I hope that you share this recipe with your friends and family and that it becomes a new healthy holiday tradition.