Roasted carrots, parsnips, squash and sweet potato

A pale winter sun is just making it’s way over Dent in the Lake District and it’s distinctly chilly. I want some warming food to cuddle up with and root vegetables are the seasonal stars. Here is a roasted roots recipe for a winters day.
Carrots, parsnips, swede and butternut squash are simply roasted in the oven until sticky and sweet …………………….If you can get them Jerusalem artichokes would be delicious as well, I must plant  these this year and take care as they can be thugs in the veg patch. I have thrown in some sprigs of thyme a robust enough herb to cope with the flavours of the roots. I’m happy to eat these winter roasts on their own, perhaps with some shavings of salty Parmesan cheese, but they go well with chunky sausages (Cumberland of course!), roast chicken or any other meat.


This is a doddle to make and you can use any combination of winter roots. You can add some extra sweetness with honey or maple syrup but long cooking brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables so it is not really necessary. Serve as it is for non-meat eaters or with e.g. chunky sausages, roast chicken etc.

Amounts are flexible, use more of your favourites and drop those that you don’t.

Serves 6

Approx. 400g Carrots, peeled

Approx. 400g Parsnips, peeled

Approx. 250g Sweet potato

Approx. 250g Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds and pulp removed.

Olive oil

2/3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Depending on the size quarter the carrots and parsnips lengthwise into about 8cm pieces.  If the parsnips are old you may need to cut away some of the core which can be a bit tough.
  2. Cut the sweet potato and squash into chunks about 3cm in size.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large roasting pan in a hot oven (200C/Gas 6) and then add the vegetables and toss them in the oil.
  4. Add a few sprigs of thyme. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix everything together. Roast for about 1 ½ hours giving them a good stir every 20 minutes or so. Roast until the vegetables are soft and beginning to char around the edges but try not to break them up too much.


Variations; Try other roots such as Jerusalem artichokes, swede or ordinary potatoes if you find this too sweet. Try adding whole cloves of garlic (unpeeled) if you s…

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