Local Winter Foods

There is something special about winter foods, especially root vegetables. They can be made into simple, wholesome meals that are not very costly. Root vegetables are ideal for creating fragrant and colourful soups, curries and stews. They are easy and delicious roasted, steamed or added to casseroles. The humble root vegetable is packed with nutrients and available throughout the year inexpensively at local markets.

I'm passionate about shopping locally. It's so easy when there are numerous options here on the Peninsula. There are several winter veggies to choose from that are locally grown here on the Saanich Peninsula year round.

Two of the farm markets that are open year round with a good selection of winter vegetables is Dan's Farm ( http://dansfarm.ca/)and Mitchell Bros. Farm (http://www.michellsfarm.com/) Take advantage of these established farm markets, as it's important to know where and how our food is grown.

Some of my favorites are beets, squash (any kind), brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and yams. I love the rich colours that make winter meals interesting. Add a little spice and you have a delicious and easy meal.

This hearty roasted veggie dish goes well as a side dish, over quinoa or with kale as a salad. Excellent as a leftover for lunch.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Artichokes

8 carrots

1 lb brussel sprouts

2 parsnips

2 beets

2 potatoes

1 turnip

1 onion

1 jar artichokes

2 garlic cloves (large)

4 spring rosemary or fennel

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Drain the artichokes into a large baking dish lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up) and add carrots, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, onions, beets, garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss with your hands to coat them evenly.

  3. Put the baking dish in the pre-heated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables every 15 minutes, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish to accompany a roasted main course or transfer them to a platter to serve as appetizers.

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