Oven roasted root vegetables with a honey brown butter sage sauce is a gorgeous way to bring the flavors and colors of fall to your holiday table. This colorful dish combines the earthy flavors of beet, parsnip, and sweet potatoes with the sweet, salty flavors of brown butter, sage, and honey for an dish that will keep them coming back for more. It’s not quick, but with the right tools it can be easy. Read on for my tips and tricks for getting it right and incorporating it into your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Don’t forget to check out the recipe video too!
When it comes to entertaining at home, serving up food that looks as good as it tastes is almost always high on the priority list and the holidays are no exception. With its tri-colored, rosebud like appearance, these oven roasted root vegetables are the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. They may even be pretty enough to steal the show from your gorgeous Thanksgiving turkey!
This dish was not designed for a quick weeknight meal. However, it’s perfect for holidays or entertaining. Use the right tools and it can be done efficiently, assembled in advance, and oven roasted as your can fit it into the rotation on the big day. In fact, all you really need to do on Thanksgiving day is move it from the fridge to the oven.
In this post I’ll tell you how to pick the right root vegetables for minimum waste, the number one tool to make the preparation go faster, and teach you how to make a perfect brown butter sauce. For holiday entertaining preparation is key and this recipe can help with getting everything on the table on time.
How to select the best beets, sweet potatoes, and parsnips or other root vegetable substitutions.
You’ll notice in the video below that I try to pick out vegetables that are the same size. For me that means an extra large beet, a short stubby sweet potato, and a parsnip with a thick top. Having vegetables the same size means you are more likely to get the same amount of slices from each one.
With nearly three pounds of root vegetables, this recipe will feed a crowd with about 8 – 10 servings. If you are serving more or less, it does size up or down to scale. To adjust the recipe quantity, estimate beets and sweet potatoes by weight, then choose a parsnip that is roughly the same size. Parsnips are less dense, with less weight per inch.
Alternatives that would work well include rainbow carrots, turnips, rutabagas, any color of potato, or even celery root. I chose beets, sweet potatoes, and parsnips not just for the flavor and texture, but also the rainbow of color.
Using a Mandoline
As promised, the one tool to make the preparation of this dish easier is the mandoline. For speedily slicing vegetables into thin, even pieces, nothing beats a mandoline. If you don’t have one, they are relatively inexpensive. I’ve linked to mine in the recommended kitchen tools just above the recipe.
One word of caution: THE BLADE IS SHARP!! While that may seem obvious, I’ve known too many people who have cut themselves while using a mandoline, so please use caution. Buy one that has a guard and don’t forget to use it, especially as you work your way closer to the end of the vegetable.
For this dish I recommend using either the 1.5mm or 2.5mm attachment. For me, I prefer eating the texture of the 2.5mm version, as it has a bit more substance. However, the 1.5mm version bends easier, which means it molds into the rosebud shape more readily. The choice is up to you.
Assembling the Root Vegetables
To assemble the vegetables start on the outside of the pan. Stack them, rotating the colors, while working around the circle. Once the pan is mostly full, stuff in any remaining pieces where they look best. It won’t be perfect, but it will be beautiful.
Below I’ve linked to my round casserole dish set. I use the largest pan for the full recipe, the mid sized one for a half turn, and the smallest for a quarter turn – which is perfect for two people. Alternatively, you can use any circular baking dish that is at least 1 1/2″ tall, like a pie pan, cast iron skillet, or cake pan.
Testing this recipe I tried four different assembly methods. Two of them were a success, but with slightly different results so I’ve included both variations. Try it then comment below to let me know which you prefer!
- The toss method: Split the beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes into three different bowls. Drizzle each bowl with an equal part of the sauce, toss to coat, then assemble.
- Results: The vegetables were evenly coated with the sauce and got a great texture. However, some bites tasted too much like sauce which I felt didn’t give the veggies enough room to shine. This method would be good for people who love fully sauced vegetables.
- The drizzle method (aka the one in the video): Assemble the vegetables in the pan, use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the veggies with the sauce, then carefully drizzle any remaining sauce over the entire dish.
- Results: Since the vegetables were less evenly coated with the sauce some of them stuck together, which allowed the flavor of the vegetables to shine through. This is my choice and would be good for those that prefer lightly dressed vegetables.
Honey Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Making a brown butter sauce is as easy as melting butter, but with patience. It has one ingredient and all the magic happens in a single saucepan over a medium low flame. Melt the butter, occasionally swirling the pan to help it along. Let the butter foam, again swirling the pan to help it along. Lastly let it cook another minute or so until the milk solids turn brown and it takes on a nutty aroma. It’s really that simple.
To turn our brown butter sauce into a honey brown butter sage sauce, we add the sage and honey one after the other. Add the sage first, just as you are pulling the brown butter off the heat. Swirl it for 15 – 20 seconds and inhale deeply for the full aroma. The hot fat from the butter will fry the sage, drawing out the aromatic oils leaving you with delightfully crunchy bits of sage. Finally, swirl in the honey and you are good to go! To see the brown butter sauce in action, check out the video.
Advance Preparation for Thanksgiving or Christmas
One of the best things about adding this recipe to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is how much of it can be done in advance. Like many root vegetable casseroles or other casserole style dish, you can do everything except bake it, up to three days in advance. Peel slice, season, assemble, then cover and refrigerate.
If you are using a glass pan like mine, take caution to prevent breaking the glass when you put it in the oven. You can either put it in the oven before you preheat it, or you can let it set out for 20 – 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before placing it in a hot oven. Do not take cold glass and move it directly into a hot oven. You may need to add 10 – 15 minutes to the total cooking time.
Recommended Kitchen Tools
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Oven Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Layers of beets, sweet potatoes, and parsnips are rolled into a beautiful rosebud shape and covered in a honey brown butter sage sauce then roasted in a hot oven. Oven roasted root vegetables are simple to assemble and make a gorgeous addition to your fall table or your holiday meal. Make it up to three days in advance and bake it on the big day.
If you happen to have leftovers, these vegetables make a fantastic soup. Heat leftovers in a saucepan with chicken, veggie, or beef stock then blend smooth with your stick blender. No stick blender? Use a standard blender to blend first and heat second.
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- 1 large beet, about 1 lb
- 1 medium sweet potato, about 1 lb
- 3/4 large parsnip, about 3/4 lb
Honey Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 large sage leaves
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Assemble the vegetables:
- Peel vegetables and use a mandoline to slice them into 1.5mm - 2.5mm slices. Stack the slices and cut them in half creating half moon shapes. Keep vegetables separate to avoid color bleeding.
- Starting at the edge of a 10" round pan, alternate colors arranging the half moon shapes to create a swirl shape. Once the majority of the pieces are in the pan, stuff in remaining pieces where they fit.
Make the Honey Brown Butter Sage sauce:
- Chop the sage. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a medium low heat swirling occasionally. Keep swirling occasionally while the butter bubbles and foams up. Once the foam subsides, monitor it closely, swirling it every few seconds. In the next minute or so the milk solids will brown and emit a nutty aroma.
- Remove the butter from the heat and add in the sage. The butter will foam up again as it fries the sage. Once the foam subsides, add in the honey and stir until it dissolves in the butter.
- Using a pastry or basting brush, brush the honey brown butter sage sauce over the top of all the vegetables, coating it as evenly as possible. Drizzle any remaining sauce as evenly as possible over the entire dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cover with lid* and bake for 35 minutes. Remove lid and cook 15 - 20 minutes more. The butter should be bubbling and the vegetables should be soft.
*If your pan does not have an oven safe lid, cover it with foil.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158