Send winter’s famous root vegetables off with a kiss of spring’s sensational maple syrup.
Like turning straw into gold, maple trees weave their magic by converting starch into golden syrup. In this recipe, we enhance the subtly sweet nature of roasted carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes by roasting them in an all-natural maple syrup glaze. Serve the vegetables as a side dish, or make them into a main course by mixing with wild rice, cranberries, and toasted pecans.
Distinguish between different varieties of maple syrup by looking at their grades. Unlike in school, however, these grades have nothing to do with quality – they correspond to the color and flavor of the syrup. It’s usually easier to find Grade A light and medium amber syrups, but keep an eye out for the darker, thicker, richer varieties, like my personal favorite, Grade B.
If you can, visit your local farmer’s market (find one here) and ask for a taste of each one – that’s how I learned about the different flavors (thank you to the Burlington, VT farmers market!) Here’s an easy guide to Maple Syrup Grades (information from the Huffington Post).
- Grade A Light Amber (Fancy): light flavor, light color, thin consistency.
- Grade A Medium Amber: stronger and darker than Grade A, but still light flavor and thin consistency.
- Grade A Dark Amber: rich flavor, deep golden color, thick consistency. Very rich.
- Grade B: Strong maple flavor, thick consistency. If you love maple syrup, you’ll love pouring this on your pancakes, and adding it baked goods.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Your favorite cooked rice or whole grain (like wild rice, quinoa, or whole wheat couscous)
div>Note: I love the fruity, nutty flavor of Lundberg’s wild blend rice. It’s a beautiful, aromatic mix of wild rice and brown rice, and takes about an hour to cook on the stove. Start it before you begin to prep for this recipe, and they’ll be done at the same time.