Even though Thanksgiving is still a week away, I can’t help but feel excited for Christmas. I get very nostalgic around this time of year, and start to miss my family even more than usual. There is nothing I love more than to be surrounded by everyone I love with a cozy fire, good food and lots of laughter. Growing up, my extended family would gather for a huge Christmas Eve party every year. My sisters and I LIVED for these parties, as we got to stay up late with our cousins, eat plenty of cookies, and meet Santa Claus (AKA my Uncle Erik). These days, my favorite part of the holidays has become helping my mom out in the kitchen. I love preparing big batches of roasted veggies and desserts with her in our pajamas, listening to Christmas music. I truly cherish these moments, and hope it never changes.
This year, I am absolutely bringing these roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and pears to the table. I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys. If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to share with your family and friends, this is the one! It’s simple, inexpensive, and mouthwatering. I’m so happy with the way this turned out! The flavors blend so beautifully thanks to fresh ginger and thyme, and is a celebration of fall produce. This recipe will suit many dietary needs – it is vegan, paleo and gluten free!
Traditional side dishes are often laden with unhealthy ingredients. While I am ALL for indulging a bit during the holidays, I definitely feel run down and lethargic after a few days of eating like this. What I love most about this recipe is how nutrient dense it is, without compromising on amazing flavor! Beets are an excellent source of fiber and contain organic nitrates. These nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which helps blood vessels relax, and thus may play a role in lowering blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are a richer source of vitamins and minerals, like beta-carotene, than their white counterparts. They also have a low glycemic index, so the sugars from sweet potatoes are released slowly and steadily into the blood. This does not cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels like more refined carbohydrates.
I hope you all try this recipe for a holiday gathering and share with your loved ones! What are your favorite holiday traditions? I would love to hear all about them!
3 medium-large beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (I actually keep the skin on as it does not bother me, but most people prefer beets without the skin)
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes (peel or keep skin on, either works)
2 green anjou pears (ripe but still firm)
1-2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt to taste
1-2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1-2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine beets, onion, garlic, ginger, salt and about 1 tbsp avocado oil. Toss so veggies are well coated in oil. Spread beet mixture evenly on baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
While beets are roasting, combine sweet potatoes, pears, thyme, salt, and remaining oil in bowl.
Add the sweet potatoes and pears to the baking sheet and mix to combine.
Place mixture back into the oven and roast for an additional 40-50 minutes. Toss mixture halfway through.
Add more salt to taste after cooking, and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy warm or cold – it tastes delicious either way!