Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Spicy Pecan Topping

Don't wait for the holidays to put roasted root vegetables on the menu. Earthy, well-seasoned root vegetables are creamy-tender and pair well with this candied, crunchy, slightly spicy pecan topping. You may be tempted to roast everything together in one pan. Roasting the red beets and red onions separately, however, keeps them from discoloring the orange and yellow vegetables. The spiced pecans make a great cocktail appetizer or snack.  Double or triple the ingredient amounts and store some away in an airtight container. There is no need to toast the pecans beforehand. Simply melt the butter into the maple syrup, then stir in pecans, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until toasted. Let cool completely before transferring them to a serving dish or storage container. Use these spicy pecans to top your favorite baked casserole, such as macaroni and cheese, or sprinkle them over a main dish salad.  

Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Spicy Pecan Topping
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
75 mins
Yield:
8 serves

Ingredients

Spicy Pecan Topping

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 cup pecan halves

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Roasted Root Vegetables

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (3 1/4 cups)

  • 3/4 pounds golden beets (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges (2 1/2 cups)

  • 3/4 pounds carrots (about 3 large), peeled and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 3/4 pound red beets (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges (2 1/2 cups)

  • 1 medium-size red onion, cut into 8 wedges with root intact

  • 1 thyme sprigs, plus leaves for garnish

Directions

  1. Prepare Spicy Pecan Topping: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine syrup and butter in a medium microwavable bowl; microwave on HIGH until butter melts, about 45 seconds. Stir in pecans, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 minutes. Stir mixture; bake until toasted, 4 to 6 more minutes. Remove from oven, and increase oven temperature to 450°F. Cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

  2. Prepare Roasted Root Vegetables: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sweet potatoes, golden beets, and carrots in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Toss well to combine. Spread mixture in a single layer on 1 baking sheet.

  3. Combine red beets and red onion in same large bowl. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and sprinkle with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well to combine. Spread mixture in a single layer on second baking sheet.

  4. Bake vegetables at 450°F for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven; stir vegetables. Tuck 4 thyme sprigs into orange vegetables and 2 thyme sprigs into red vegetables. Rotate baking sheets between top and bottom racks. Bake at 450°F until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

  5. Transfer vegetables to a serving bowl; gently toss together. Coarsely chop pecan topping. Sprinkle topping and thyme leaves over vegetables before serving warm or at room temperature.

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