Sometimes it’s a relief to take a respite from veggie side dishes that are overcomplicated to put together or overwrought with additional ingredients. Sometimes it’s nice to simply revel in the innate goodness of the simplest incarnation of something. Like these roasted caramelized root vegetables, in which the mere act of cooking something at the proper time and temperature transforms them into something that’s supple, silken, and sweet as can be. Versatile as heck. And no extra fuss required when you follow our simple yet perfect technique.–Renee Schettler

A person holding a basket of roasted caramelized root vegetables.

Roasted Caramelized Root Vegetables

5 from 1 vote
These roasted caramelized root vegetables are versatile and pretty easy to whip up for dinner. Onions, parsnips, rutabagas, celery root, and almost any root veggie you can find makes a perfect candidate for this treatment.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories375 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


  • 20 pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) pieces
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) pieces
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) pieces
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small chunks


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a large bowl, toss the root vegetables together with the olive oil and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the root vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and dot with butter.
  • Roast for 30 minutes, stir, and continue roasting for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and golden.
  • Serve immediately.

Adapted From

The Vineyard Kitchen

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 375 kcalCarbohydrates: 59 gProtein: 7 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 8 mgSodium: 237 mgFiber: 13 gSugar: 19 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2003 Maria Helm Sinskey. Photo © 2003 . All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Root vegetables usually don’t inspire a great deal of enthusiasm, but this dish is greater than the sum of its parts. The slow roasting and basting with olive oil and butter of the vegetables create a caramelized and creamy texture that’s pure comfort food. I love that each bite tastes slightly differently: one is more oniony, the next with a hint of celery root, and another with the spiciness of the rutabaga or sweetness of the carrot. Dice, roast, and enjoy!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe in the spring when our variety of root vegetables (potato, carrot, onions) were ready to harvest. The flavors really developed a wonderful depth and I’ve never had left overs. This was so great I had multiple requests for it from the family that I bet we made it twice a week for at least a month. Tomorrow I’ll surprise everyone with the fall vegetable version!

      1. Hi Renee, I use whatever I have on hand or fresh out of the garden. This recipe is very versatile which is another reason I like it so much. I usually make sure to include some potato, carrot, and onion and the thyme is a must (and fresh thyme is the best). Everything else (i.e., mushrooms, celery root, sweet potato, squash, etc.) depends on what I have.

        I’ve probably made this about 20 times and it turns out great everytime. The cooking time does vary depending on the veggies used, but I do try to make the dice larger for more “watery” veggies (i.e., squash, mushrooms) and a smaller dice for the denser ones (i.e., starchy ones). Getting the carmelization pushes the flavors onto another level.

          1. Hi Renee, I forgot to mention that I have also thrown these on a baking sheet on the second oven shelf when I’m roasting a chicken at 375 degrees F and they turn out great. Just keep an eye on them since the time can be affected. I should also mention that I usually use vegetables from the garden and they tend to have a higher sugar content than what people buy in the store, so my experience may not translate directly to what they might have.

          2. I’m a big proponent of multitasking the oven as you do when roasting a hen, Laura in Texas. And thanks for clarifying, you’re of course so right, veggies straight from the garden are often like dirt candy compared to the sort found in stores. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and continuing our conversation on other recipes as well….