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October 29, 2012 at 6:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Dry-Heat Roasting: A Healthier Way To Cook

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This Author

It's that time of year again! A time when the warmth of a home-cooked meal draws us indoors after enjoying the chill autumn air.

In our home, that means roasted goodness.

What to Roast?

Roasted sweet potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, onions, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga… oh, I could go on and on! Hearty vegetables always taste better roasted, providing me with extra incentive to serve veggies to even the pickiest of dinner guests.

Doesn’t Roasting Reduce Nutrients?

For the naysayers who worry roasting will reduce the nutritional content, please read on. While roasting does degrade some of the micronutrients in our food, (such as vitamin C, fiber, macronutrients, fat-soluble vitamins) more will remain providing us with a nutritious and delicious meal.

Keep in mind:

  • Roasting is a dry-heat cooking method that will actually help to preserve nutrient content.
  • Moist-heat cooking tends to cause micronutrients to leach out of our food.

Besides, for some vegetables, cooking helps make their minerals more bioavailable and easily absorbed during digestion. That's double bonus for us – better tasting veggies AND more nutritious!

Whether they are roasted, pureed, steamed, or fresh, I would much rather everyone include veggies as a part of their diet, than to omit them entirely. Surely the benefits of even the most cooked down produce will outweigh the nutrients lost, especially when compared with many of the nutrient-poor alternatives (e.g. refined carbs, sugary treats, fried what-not)!

Get Cooking!

For an incredibly easy side dish, simply wash two or three cups of winter vegetables, toss them into a Dutch Oven or roasting pan, drizzle them with olive oil, add a pinch of fresh or dried herbs, place them in the oven at 450. Within an hour or so you will have a delicious dish awaiting you!

It’s easy to transform this into a protein-rich entrée as well! You could certainly serve the veggies alongside seasoned roasted tofu, beans, or tempeh for a vegan dish. Or you could serve up our classics, oven roasted turkey and vegetables. My dear husband loves it as turkey (or chicken) shares the stage with the colorful produce and I love it because everything is prepared, cooked, and served in a single pan – less dishes for me!

Cider Roasted Turkey with Veggies (Serves 8)

(You'll nee a french oven or other covered roasting pan for this dish. I personally use this gorgeous piece of cookware here.)

cider roasted turkey with veggiesIngredients:

  • 1-(3lb) boneless turkey breast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into ½ pieces
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 cup celery, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 fuji apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered                   
  • Handful fresh rosemary, tied together
  • 1 cup 100% apple cider

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Place turkey breast into French Oven.
  • Wash and prepare produce, cutting into semi-even size pieces to allow them to bake evenly.
  • Add produce to dish, top with olive oil, rosemary, and apple cider.
  • Cover and place in oven for 90 minutes or until turkey reaches 165F (If your turkey is not browning how you would like it to, simply remove the lid for the last 20 minutes or so).

And for Dessert?

For a delicious dessert you could simply roast fresh apples with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon or for something more decadent, whip up these adorable individual apple crisps!

My mouth is watering already... :)

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