On a cold and windy day, with a haul of root vegetables from Morning Glory Farm on hand, I thought about ginger. Of course, I always think about ginger. But in this case, it was because of a recipe from an author I worked with on a story for Fine Cooking magazine. She had lived in Australia for many years and did an article for us on cooking with fresh ginger. One of her recipes had julienned ginger tossed with root vegetables while they were cooking. The crispy chewy ginger was such a lovely surprise.

Since I also wanted to combine root vegetables with slightly different cooking times, I thought I’d sacrifice a degree of crispyness in deference to a crowded roast (bigger pieces in a shallow pan, not on a sheet pan) where the vegetables would steam a bit in the first part of cooking. My plan was to douse the veggies with a combination of maple syrup, balsamic, and butter for the second half of cooking, after the veggies had cooked and shrunk a bit to brown them up. I’d also add a flurry of julienned ginger at that point.

I put this all into action, and it worked. The results were delicious, though I think you could massage the cooking times and temperatures according to your own oven. Mine is a little unpredictable. Just don’t add the maple mixture at the beginning or it will burn by the time the roots are cooked.

The good news is that I managed to get not only carrots and parsnips into this dish, but also turnips and celery root, so don’t ever say I didn’t tell you what to do with your celery root! (It likes moist cooking by the way and takes a bit longer than other roots to get tender, so cut the pieces a bit smaller if you like. Or leave them out!)

Update: I did another version of this dish with chickpeas, shallots and herbs and it's awfully good. Take a look at Gingery Roasted Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots & Chickpeas with Maple-Balsamic Butter here.

Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish

  • 1 ¾ to 2 pounds root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, and/or celery root), peeled (except for purple-topped turnips) and cut into pieces about 1 ½ inches long and 1 inch wide
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (like grapeseed oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to finish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (or a scant ¼ cup) peeled and julienned ginger (2-inch batons)


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the vegetables, the neutral oil, and the 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly. Scrape the contents into a 3-quart roasting pan (about 9 x 13 inches) and spread out the vegetables in one cozy layer. Roast for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, and balsamic over low heat. When butter is melted, remove from heat.

3. Pour the butter mixture over the vegetables and add the ginger to the pan. Using a silicone spatula, toss the vegetables until the butter and ginger are well-distributed.

4. Continue cooking the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes more, or until they are nicely browned and tender and the ginger is crisp and golden.

5. Serve right away, seasoned with a bit more salt.