Roasted Root Vegetables With Sweet Lime Dressing Recipe

[Photographs: Nik Sharma]

I love beets, in part because of the sheer variety of colors they come in. But the real point of interest for me is the behavior of the water-soluble pigments responsible for those colors (called betalains—the red ones are known as betacyanins and the yellow ones are known as betaxanthins). For example, some betacyanin pigments degrade during cooking, but if you let the cooked beets sit for a bit, the betacyanins will regenerate!

Beets are also rich in sugars, much like the carrots and onions I pair them with in the recipe below. The three vegetables complement one another, both in terms of their inherent flavors, and the fact that by applying heat, they undergo similar processes in which they become much sweeter and more texturally palatable.

I add some brightness to the root vegetables by tossing them in a fragrant lime dressing sweetened with a little brown sugar, which adds a bit of caramel flavor. I also incorporate a small amount of red pepper flakes to give the dressing some heat. I highly recommend using a microplane zester to prepare the zest and the garlic for the dressing; the garlic and zest are punchier as a result, and the finer grating yields a far smoother dressing.

Finally, I like to garnish this dish with crispy golden brown shallots. While I prefer to cook mine in the oven, you can use fried shallots, done in a deep fryer or a microwave, or you can use store-bought fried shallots. You can also easily bump up the quantity of shallots I’ve indicated below to make extra (store extra crispy shallots in an airtight container in the refrigerator), but remember to divide and spread them out in a single layer on as many baking sheets as needed. Spreading them out allows for better evaporation of the liquid and helps with the browning and crisping.

I usually serve these roasted root vegetables with plain boiled rice but you can also eat them all by themselves, although I’ve also found thatbit of Greek yogurt, salted to taste, works wonderfully with the sweet root vegetables and the dressing.

Why It Works

  • Roasting the beets, carrots, and onions brings out their sweetness and makes them tender.
  • Roasted shallots offer a crispy counterpoint to the tender root vegetables.
  • A salad dressing brightened with lime juice and zest and perked up with a pinch of red pepper flakes complements the earthy flavors of the vegetables.

What’s New On Serious Eats

  • Yield:Makes 4 servings as a side or starter
  • Active time:90 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour 45 minutes
  • Ingredients

    • For the Shallots:
    • 4 shallots (about 6 1/4 ounces; 180g total), sliced crosswise into thin 1/8-inch-thick rings
    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • For the Beets, Carrots, and Onions:
    • 8 medium beets (about 2 pounds; 910g total), washed well, ends trimmed, and cut into 2-inch-thick wedges
    • 4 large carrots (about 1 pound; 455g total), washed well, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 4 small yellow onions (about 1 pound; 455g total), ends trimmed but root left intact, peeled, and quartered lengthwise through the root
    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • For the Sweet Lime Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime juice, plus the finely grated zest of 1 lime
    • 1 medium clove garlic, minced or grated
    • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • To Serve:
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
    • 4 scallions, both white and green parts, ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise


    1. 1.

      For the Shallots: Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss shallots with olive oil until evenly coated. Season with salt, then arrange in a single, even layer. Roast shallots, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking, until golden brown and crispy, 45 to 60 minutes. Set aside.

    2. 2.

      For the Beets, Carrots, and Onions: Increase oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss beets, carrots, and onions with the olive oil; season with salt. Spread vegetables out in an even layer and roast, stirring vegetables and rotating the baking sheet once halfway through cooking, until a paring knife can easily pierce beets and carrots, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a layer of foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

    3. 3.

      Meanwhile, for the Sweet Lime Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice and zest, garlic, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes until the sugar dissolves completely. While drizzling in a slow, steady stream, whisk in olive oil to form a creamy dressing. Season with salt.

    4. 4.

      In a large serving bowl, toss roasted beets, carrots, and onions with the dressing until evenly coated. Garnish with the sesame seeds, scallions, and crispy shallots. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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