I credit Ina Garten ("The Barefoot Contessa" from the Food Network) with the inspiration for this recipe. She makes roasting vegetables so easy. I also used a tip from my "Better Homes & Gardens" cookbook by adding balsamic vinegar and dried oregano to the veggies before roasting them. Any seasonal root vegetables would work, including sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, and even golden beets, which are wonderful sliced super thin and roasted until crisp like chips! I sort of made this recipe up, so the ingredients and amounts are to your taste. Either increase the oven temperature or lengthen the cooking time for thicker veggies, like potatoes. My 4-year-old really liked the carrots, while my husband and I loved all of the veggies. We took the leftovers to a get together the next evening as a side for lasagna and received rave reviews from everyone who ate the dish!
3 large carrots, peeled
2-3 large parsnips, peeled
2 fennel bulbs, fronds and outer layers removed (save the fronds for garnish)
1-2 heads of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano (dried basil or dried rosemary would also work well)
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the carrots and parsnips into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Slice the fennel bulbs in half and then, into quarters. Cut off the tops of the heads of garlic, exposing the cloves, but still keeping them tightly together.
2. Place the carrots, parsnips, and fennel on a cookie sheet. Liberally drizzle about 2 tbsp of the olive oil over the vegetables. Then, sprinkle the oregano, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper all over. With your hands, toss everything well.
3. Drizzle about 1 tbsp of the olive oil over the top of the exposed garlic cloves. Wrap the garlic heads in aluminum foil, and place on the cookie sheet with the other vegetables. Roast everything together for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables become brown around the edges, stirring them occasionally to keep them from sticking to the pan. They'll still have a slight crunch, so roast them longer if you like your veggies soft.
4. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Take the garlic out of the foil, and squeeze the individual cloves out by compressing the heads from the sides. Chop the saved fennel fronds finely and sprinkle on top of everything for garnish.