Photograph by Denver Hendricks
It’s important to eat a variety of differently coloured vegetables, because each colour signifies a different phytochemical. For example, carrots and butternuts contain beta-Carotene (great for sparkling eyes), red peppers contain flavonoids (powerful antioxidants, which fight diseases) and garlic and onions contain allyl sulphides, which inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
“Phytonutrients are plant compounds that have health protecting qualities and can help in preventing cancer,” explains dietician Jeske Wellmann. “Taking large doses of antioxidants and vitamins in pill form can be harmful to the body, so it’s best to consume them from fresh fruit and vegetables – five to nine portions of fresh fruit and vegetable per day are recommended,” says Wellmann.
So make sure you mix up your colours and simultaneously create a variety of flavours in one dish – check out this roast-veg recipe for inspiration…
What You Need
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
1 large onion, cut into 2 cm chunks
1 small butternut, peeled and cubed into 2 cm chunks
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 leek, trimmed, rinsed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
2 medium beetroot, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/ Preheat the oven to 180 °C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, onion, butternut, peppers, leek and garlic, and toss with 2 T (30 ml) of olive oil. Spread the vegetables in a roasting pan and place in the oven.
2/ Place the beetroot in a smaller roasting pan, toss with the rest of the olive oil and put in the oven. (Beetroot needs to be cooked separately, otherwise all the vegetables will turn pink.) Roast for about an hour, turning the vegetables with a spatula occasionally.
3/ When the vegetables are tender, remove from the oven and place in a large bowl, adding the beetroot last. Add the balsamic vinegar, parsley and chives, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold. If you want to serve this as a salad, refrigerate for at least 8 hours and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.
For more nutritious recipes, get Eat Well, Feel Well: Fighting Cancer With Nutrition by dieticians Adéle van der Merwe and Jeske Wellmann. R229 at Loot.co.za