I walked a bunch of food magazines in the store yesterday and had to laugh. In what must be their California based test kitchens, they’re busy cooking with asparagus, peas, bunches of herbs and other warm weather fantasies. In reality – Vermont and probably much of the northern United States –  especially after the winter we’ve had, those foods are at least a month away. By the time they are here, the magazines will probably already be on to tomatoes.

Let’s focus on what’s actually available. The maple sugaring season is just about over (if it’s not already) and that means we have plenty of freshly processed maple syrup. Meanwhile, root vegetables are still lingering about and longing for some creativity. If we borrow some in season citrus from the south, we have plenty of possibilities.

If you’ve roasted root vegetables before, you already know and love the sweet crispy caramelization that happens in the cooking process. Adding maple syrup to the mix might sound a little unnecessary. Yet when you combine it with the bright tartness of roasted oranges, it makes for the perfect balance and for a perfectly timed dish.

You could eat the beets and oranges as is, for a side dish. Or place over greens with a maple balsamic dressing, top with cheese and seeds and have yourself a light and realistic spring dinner.

Maple Roasted Beets and Oranges

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings, as a side or as part of a main dish

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium beets
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Slice the ends off the beets, slice in half, then each half into pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and maple syrup, ginger and salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, seed and chop the oranges. After 25 minutes, toss the beets on the sheet with the orange pieces and bake another 20 minutes or until beets are tender and crispy.