Now that Halloween has passed and we’re sliding into the colder, darker months, our bodies are craving those fragrant, filling meals that will warm us up! Turnips, carrots, and potatoes are hearty vegetables that are able to tolerate frost in cold weather, so they (along with a list of others) are perfect for stews and side dishes. Today, we have a great recipe that will utilize those in-season vegetables by roasting them with rosemary and other delicious, aromatic herbs.
Overall healthy ingredient profile
Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy chemopreventive diet. Roasting helps contain all the nutrients within the vegetables, instead of leaching some out into cooking water. Fresh rosemary and thyme infuse this dish with wonderful aromas, as well as adding valuable micronutrients. Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid (RosA) and carnasol, both studied for their cancer preventive properties. Today, we will focus on RosA.
Evidence for cancer prevention by rosmarinic acid
RosA is a polyphenol similar to caffeic acid (found in coffee). Polyphenols are chemicals with antioxidant properties known to protect against carcinogenesis, tumor cell proliferation, apoptosis, metastasis, and inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to symptoms in cancer patients, such as depression, fatigue, neuropathic pain, metastases and tumor growth.
In 2006, a study was performed at the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur, India on mice with stage II skin cancer. The scientists tested how the cancer responded to RosA and found that it was able to suppress tumorigenesis (the formation of new tumors) as well as block pro-inflammatory pathways in cancer cells.
You can also find a table of recent findings in studies with RosA in this article.
Sources of rosemarinic acid
RosA is also found in basil, sage, lemon balm, mint, oregano, thyme, and peppermint.
No serious RosA side effects have been reported, and extensive blood cell counts and hepatic and renal function tests showed RosA to be safe and effective.
Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Rosemary
- 1 pound red-skinned new potatoes, or larger potatoes in ¾-inch chunks, about 3 cups
- 3 pounds peeled and trimmed baby carrots, about 4 cups
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled, in 2 ½ by ½ inch matchsticks, about 3 cups
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks, about 2 cups
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- Sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large cloves garlic, slivered
- 4–6 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed and shaken dry
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, plus whole sprigs for garnish
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Heat oven to 425.
- In a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and fennel; toss thoroughly with melted coconut oil, salt and pepper.
- Divide vegetables evenly between two 13x9x2 inch roasting pans.
- Place pans on separate shelves in oven.
- Bake 40 to 50 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally with a wide metal spatula.
- Halfway through cooking time, switch pans from one oven shelf to the other and add garlic and rosemary, half to each pan, tossing in well.
- When done, transfer vegetables to one large serving bowl; toss gently but thoroughly with chopped thyme, vinegar, additional tablespoon of oil, and more salt to taste.
- Garnish with reserved thyme sprigs.
Contributed by Cathy McGovern