Roasted Tzimmes

Roasted tzimmes of carrot, sweet potato, parsnip, and figs on a sheet of parchment.

This roasted tzimmes recipe is not the sweet, gooey tzimmes of your childhood. Nope. The authors wanted to be respectful of the Jewish holiday classic yet also wanted to impart a more contemporary taste to the old-fashioned side, so don’t be surprised when that old familiar flavor fails to reveal itself here. What awaits instead is a complex caramelized flavor from roasted carrots and sweet potatoes. The dulcet sweetness of honey is replaced by the complex notes of molasses. That sophisticated something you can’t quite identify could either be the dried figs used in place of prunes or the brilliant inclusion of za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture which, as the authors note, makes the easy side dish a melding of East and West—a great mix of Ashkenazi tradition with Middle Eastern flavors.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Time For Tzimmes Note

Although this roasted tzimmes recipe works spectacularly well in place of classic tzimmes at any Jewish holiday table, it’s also not out of place at a weeknight dinner of roast chicken where a complex taste and easy prep are always welcome. Seems like just about any time is a good time for tzimmes.

Roasted Tzimmes

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6 to 8
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Toss the figs and orange juice in a large bowl and let soak for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drain the figs, reserving the orange juice. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips to the figs along with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, molasses, za’atar, salt, and pepper to taste and toss to coat.

Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, 25 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice over the vegetables and toss again. Taste and, if desired, season with more salt to taste.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is a tweaked version of tzimmes, and I have to say, these tweaks really work. Instead of honey, this version is sweetened with molasses for a darker, not so overtly sweet, flavor. Sweetness also comes from the roasted vegetables themselves. This sweetness is balanced by just a bit of tang from the balsamic vinegar, and you also have the tangy sweetness of orange juice. I like that this version includes sweet potato and parsnip in addition to the carrots, and I loved the earthier flavor of figs here instead of raisins. The coup de grâce in this brilliant recipe is the za'atar, which adds an herbal zest and grounds the recipe in the Middle East. I roasted the vegetables for the full 40 minutes, and the carrots didn't scorch at all, but the figs got a little too dry. I'd probably do 35 minutes next time. As for servings, I'd say 6, not 8.

I've always despised tzimmes, and that's because most versions I've tasted were always some variation of mushy, over-sweetened carrots and sweet potatoes. This recipe is the anti-tzimmes but in a good way. First of all, you start with vegetables with a high sugar content—carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes—and then you add some rich figs and touch of sweetener with a little za'atar to liven things up. Turn up the klezmer on the stereo—this is a mash-up of tastes. I had no molasses in the house, so I subbed 1 tablespoon maple syrup. I don't think this made much of a difference to the finished dish. I roasted my vegetables for 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Some of the figs were scorched to oblivion at this point. A couple of the vegetables were quite caramelized but not beyond redemption. I generally roast vegetables at 375°F, as I'm usually doing other things while they're cooking and you have a little more leeway at a lower temperature.

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