What’s Up Doc?

January 19, 2011 in Blog Recipes, Diabetic Menu Item, Mediterranean, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

When you look at greens in a field or planter box, or red Swiss chard on your cutting board it is just plain aesthetically beautiful. But when we look at root vegetables we’re not always struck with their beauty. To be perfectly candid, many of them probably qualify for being downright unattractive; think of celery root, potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips. Sure there are other root vegetables that will knock your eyes out with the splendor of their colors; think of beets, red garnet yams and carrots, for a start; but their ugly cousins sit on the grocer’s produce bin almost unnoticed. I feel a sense of gratitude for this earthy group of roots; for in history, they had an important part in humanity surviving the cold frozen winters of the northern lands (of course, if you go far enough south, you have similar stories of these sturdy vegetables benefitting humanity).  The wonderful thing about the modern day is that we get fresh vegetables and root vegetables all year long. There is, however, frequently a price and ecological premium, to bring spring/summer vegetables to us year round.

When I start emoting about root vegetables and their greens, I picture your eyes rolling, but bear with me for a moment or two. I’ll restrain my nutritionist background and won’t go off on the tempting nutritionism approach (telling you about the incredible supply of individual nutrients available from this group of vegetables) – my fear is that you’ll run right out and get a bottle of vitamin K, calcium, or one or two of the hundreds of carotenoids found naturally in the vegetables; and you’ll pass on chopping up the beet or turnip greens. Beet greens, carrot greens and smaller turnip greens are a great substitute for spinach; just a quick sauté in a little extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of herbs, with a dash of salt and pepper, make a tasty side dish with far more than any nutrition supplement can provide. (Note: I usually use some of the tender smaller stems, but some cooks discard them all.)

Root vegetables and winter squash with their waxy skins are designed by nature to preserve the nutrient content of the vegetables. On July 25, 2010, I did not resist writing about a few of the nutrients in carrots; notice that the recipe that was posted that day is a carrot/fruit creation (to go with the new one below).

Although I feel a little sorry for the drabness of the not so colorful celery root, white potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips, I’ve chosen their very inexpensive cousin to write about this time – the ever-popular carrot. Having answered scores of riddles shared by grandchildren, I’m guessing that I’ve been permanently tainted by riddle time, so I’m going to ask one myself. Q. What do Bugs Bunny and Dr. Grandma have in common? A. They both love carrots. Or an alternate answer: Bugs says, “What’s Up Doc?” and we ask the other: “What’s Up Doc?” – especially at mealtime. You’re right this is not supposed to be a post on corn!

There’s an entire website dedicated to Carrot Trivia; which includes information such as carrots are native to Afghanistan since the 7th century; and that carrots started with red, black, yellow, white and purple; but not with orange. The purple, black and some red carrots are rich with anthocyanins, a flavonoid and healthy antioxidant. The orange carrots are full of carotenoids, which are also healthy antioxidants.

The world carrot museum sponsors a website that will help you and your family discover the power of carrots and everything you ever wanted to know about carrots.

I promised that I’d spend time this year sharing some economical recipes using herbs and spices to pep up plain but wonderfully nutritious veggies. In the spirit of keeping that promise, I submit this flavorful apple and carrot recipe that takes no special skills – it’s easy, it’s inexpensive, it’s delicious, and it’s nutritious. So if you ask me, “What’s up doc?”, you’ll know that there are at least four good answers that involve carrots or other root veggies, fruit, root greens and yummy herbs or spices.

1. Medley of Roasted Roots

2. Mary Ireland’s Beets, Carrots, and Tops

3.  Orange Carrots

4.     And for today:  Roasted Apple Herb Carrots (see below)

Roasted Apple Herb Carrots

This recipe is designed to feed a crowd; but is easily cut in half. Also, it’s nice to have some leftover for another meal.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Dr. Grandma’s Delight (zero-calorie, all-natural sweetener) or sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons dried summer savory (may substitute with 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme)

1 cup green onions, sliced and separated

3 pounds of scrubbed carrots, sliced diagonally

3 pounds of unpeeled scrubbed apples, sliced Braeburn, Gala or other cooking variety

Salt and pepper, light sprinkling, if desired


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wisk the oil, Delight, savory and vinegar. Stir in the carrots, apples, and green onions. Arrange the apple and carrot mixture on baking trays. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Roast the carrots and apples for 25 to 40 minutes, until the carrots are fork tender. Stir once or twice during the roasting process.

Wash the fruit and veggies.

Whisk the oil, vinegar, Delight and Savory together.

Diagonally slice the carrots.

Slice the cored apples.

Slice the green onions.

Roast the apple, carrot mixture.

Serve your easy, delicious, nutritious, inexpensive creation.