The leaves have fallen off the trees and the skies are consistently grey. It’s time to head to the farmers’ markets for a dose of colour! Vibrant heirloom carrots, creamy parsnips, ruby red beets and yellow and red mini potatoes are in season now, so a colourful roasted vegetable platter will impress at the dinner table (or Christmas table for those already planning menus). Serve it with a side of this garlicky quinoa and grilled chicken seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning for a meal that you can also pack for lunch the next day.
Blanch the potatoes first to give them a head start at cooking. This will give them a soft texture inside and crispy skin outside.
Preheat the oven at 400°F.
In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain and let dry.
Toss the parsnips, carrots, garlic bulbs and potatoes with oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a large bowl.
Wrap whole, unpeeled beets individually in aluminum foil.
Place all the vegetables in a single layer on 2 large baking trays lined with parchment paper. Bake for an hour until the vegetables are soft, begin to appear wrinkled and become fragrant.
In the meantime, bring 1 ½ cups of salted water to a boil in a small pot over medium heat. Add in the quinoa, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the water has evaporated and the quinoa has a fluffy texture. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
When the vegetables are done roasting, remove from oven. Take 3 or 4 garlic cloves from the bulb and dice (or mash) into smaller pieces. Add the garlic into the pot with the quinoa. Gently toss with a fork.
Remove the beets from the aluminum foil and peel off the skin. Slice the beets into thin slices. Arrange the vegetables on a platter and serve with the garlic quinoa. Serves 4 generously.