Grilled Herb-crusted Root Vegetables
When the cold starts to settle in, there's no vegetable preparation that delivers me as much comfort as long roasting. Taking a hard and dense root vegetable and letting it cook until completely tender, with caramelized exterior bits that hold excellent sweetness, just screams fall to me, and over the years I've done many recipes using this type of roasting method on the grill. The majority of my recipes focus on a singular veggie though, so this year I changed things and bought all different types of root veggies and made this excellent grill-roasted, herb-crusted root vegetable medley.
If you do take a look back at my roasted vegetable posts, you will find a common thread of some sort of herbal coating on a lot of them. What can I say, I like the way herbs enhance and add depth to vegetables and meats. The main difference in this recipe from past ones were the varieties of herbs that I used—I usually use what I have on hand, which might be two or three herbs on a normal day, but with my shopping habits changed during the pandemic, I had way more herbs in the house than usual due to planning meals more in advance and keeping my kitchen better stocked. So in this mixture there were five herbs total, with sage and parsley having the most representation, and then fairly equal amounts of thyme, rosemary, and oregano.
The veggies ended up being a six variety mixture that I chose on the fly based on what was available and looked good at the grocery—it included carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, and shallots. I cut them all up into fairly large chunks that would take a significant amount of time to roast through, which is needed when you're looking for that perfect pairing of caramelized exteriors with completely tender innards. The prep before grilling consisted of coating with olive oil, then seasoning with salt, pepper, and roughly half of the herb mixture.
To cook them, I employed a two-zone, high heat fire, which required a full chimney of lit charcoal arranged on one side of the charcoal grate. I placed all the vegetables on the cool side of the grill in a single layer, covered, and just let them roast.
They cooked for about 20 minutes before I began checking on them. After that point, I took a peak at how things were going every 10 minutes or so and rearranged things as needed—some veggies closer to the fire needed to be more further away and vice versa. It took around 45 minutes of total roasting time until all the vegetables were completely softened throughout and developed attractive browned bits all over.
I forgot to take a photo of the next step, in which I placed the veggies back into a large bowl and tossed them with the remaining herbs. I really like this double herbal application because it delivers two distinct flavor components of the cooked and fresh herbs. And those certainly came through here, adding a lot of savoriness to the vegetables that came in varying levels of sweetness. I really liked how everything was working together and you could go from a very sugary sweet potato to an earthy beet in two bites, creating a much more complex side dish than my single-vegetable recipes offer. I had made this as an accompaniment to a mini Thanksgiving-inspired dinner that included turkey meatballs, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Taken altogether, this side felt very at home on that plate, so this recipe will certainly be in consideration as a side at future holiday meals at my home.
Grilled Herb-crusted Root Vegetables
- Yield 4 servings
- Prep 10 Minutes
- Cook 45 Minutes
- Total 55 Minutes
- 3 large shallots, peeled
- 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices on a bias
- 2 large parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch slices on a bias
- 2 medium beets, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup finely minced herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley), divided
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin-olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place shallots, carrots, parsnips, beets, and sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add in oil, half of the minced herbs, and salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat evenly.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place vegetables in a single layer on cool side of grill and cover. Cook, checking on vegetables and rotating as necessary every 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and well browned, about 45 minutes.
- Transfer shallots to a cutting board, remove root end, and roughly chop. Transfer shallots and all remaining vegetables back to large bowl. Add in remaining half of the minced herbs and toss to coat evenly. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer vegetables to a serving dish or bowl and serve immediately.