You can’t beat this splash of phytonutrients and rich source of gut-healthy fiber, topped off with anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats in Grandpa’s Root Vegetable Medley. My Grandpa prepared this vibrant vegetable dish the day after Thanksgiving for some post holiday deliciousness. The base of the dish is acorn squash and sweet potatoes and they are topped with onions, rome apples, walnuts and kale! The sweet potatoes, squash and apples make for a sweet flavor that balances perfectly with the nutty flavor from the roasted walnuts. Pair this with dish with a protein-rich entree to help decrease spikes in blood sugar levels from the acorn squash and sweet potatoes, which are starchy vegetables meaning that they are higher in carbohydrates compared to leafy greens. Enjoy the best that fall produce has to offer!
Meet My Grandpa
This post is very special to me because of it being a recipe from my Grandpa, who is one of my favorite people in the world. This isn’t one of those recipes that has been in the family for years. This is a recipe that he spontaneously threw together and made up as he went along but it turned out pretty great! For the most part my Grandpa is the epitome of health except for the fact that he does not wear sunscreen and has been known to eat a lot of refined carbs from his pretzel addiction.
He still travels around the world, spends many days planting trees and landscaping anyone’s yard he can access, bikes 20+ miles a few times per week, goes for long hikes in the mountains of Asheville and lives a healthy, vibrant life. While he is one of the biggest BeingBrigid fans he will tell you that he did not achieve his health from eating organic foods and avoiding dairy and gluten. He takes the “everything in moderation” approach to his health. I argue that the nutrient levels in our soil have decreased over the years and that my generation is exposed to many more chemicals and pesticides than he encountered at my age! But there is something to be said for his approach.
The Key to Being 85 Years Young
There’s a few things that my Grandpa does very well that probably help keep him young–he eats a lot of fruits and vegetables and tons of nuts and seeds, he has always been extremely active, and he is very social. My Grandpa is one of those people that can’t sit still for long–he is always coming up with new projects, finding things to build or assemble, swimming, biking, hiking, etc. Even though he doesn’t really know how to text, he also loves to be social and strikes up a conversation with anyone that he encounters. I don’t know many people that are as smart and sharp as my grandpa and I’m convinced that much of his healthy aging can be attributed to his high level of activity, social engagement with real people instead of his iphone, and his desire to constantly learn.
Hopefully we can all stay young with his root vegetable medley that I recreated. My Grandpa is known for liking things in bulk and he always prepares too much food and then pushes it on everyone. The version on my blog yields about 1/3 of the food that his initial recipe did. I hope you enjoy my Grandpa’s spontaneous creation of this root vegetable medley!
Grandpa’s Root Vegetable Medley
By Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 rome red apples, diced
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cut off the stem of the acorn squash and cut it in half from the stem to the bottom.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds.
- In each valley of the acorn squash, cut into pie sections.
- Use a peeler to remove the skin from each section of the acorn squash and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
- Rinse the sweet potato and dice into 3/4 inch cubes.
- Add the acorn squash and sweet potato to a baking sheet and spread out evenly.
- Drizzle 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over the root vegetables and coat evenly.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Add the diced onion and apple with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the baking sheet, coating evenly.
- Put the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- When the timer goes off add the kale, walnuts, and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the baking sheet and cook for the last 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with salt and pepper.