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  • Heather Bainbridge EdM, MA, RDN

Sneaky Good Sheet Pan Dinner (with bonus savory sweet potato recipe)

I needed a fast dish and came across this Roasted Vegetables with Chicken Sausage recipe. We loved it! It caught my eye because chicken sausage is so easy to prepare (TIP: They have far off expiration dates, so keep on hand for quick meals), parsnips are something we don't normally eat (see paragraph 2 for exciting facts), my 3 year old loves broccoli and it includes red onion, which my husband taught me is fabulous roasted (see roasted sweet potato recipe below). My friend's husband (who's a steakhouse kinda guy) now eats sweet potatoes because of this combination!

Why this works from a nutrition standpoint: Aside from containing significant amounts of the B, C and K vitamins broccoli and cauliflower contain detoxifying phytonutrients glucosinolates, which aid the digestive tract in reducing inflammation by essentially escorting the bad toxins out of the body. Plus 1 cup cooked serving of broccoli provides about 20% of the recommended daily fiber goal. Cauliflower contains slightly less fiber, but don't let its white color (look for other colors like purple at your farmer's market) fool you to thinking it's not a major player in your health because it's just as powerful as broccoli to reduce LDL ("the bad one") cholesterol levels as well as other health risks like cancer. Parsnips are relatives of carrots and parsley. Even though it doesn't look like it, it adds substance to the meal by having more carbs than veggies to give this dish along with the chicken sausage more staying power. Parsnips also contain more fiber than sweet potatoes, which came as a surprise so definitely worth a try!

If you think it's amazing our son likes broccoli (we did) the trick is to avoid overcooking it (steam for 3-4 minutes) and preparing it with olive oil, garlic and salt. Overcooked broccoli has a strong sulfur taste and is mushy, however steaming then sautéing or roasting (no need to steam first) results in a sweeter, fresher taste. It also retains a beautiful bright green color that's crucial for food acceptance. We also "eat" with our eyes. This is a great tip for the adults who don't like broccoli too!

Roasting veggies can be a game changer. Sometimes we get caught up in thinking steaming our vegetables is the only way it's healthy, yet extra virgin olive oil has it's benefits too and salt is fine, just in moderation! Let's focus on both the health and taste so we look forward to eating foods that support good health and well-being.

In good health and food,


By Beth Lipton
Ingredients-(We used more red onion, cauliflower and broccoli)

2 parsnips, sliced

1½ cups broccoli, chopped

1½ cups cauliflower, chopped

¼ cup red onion, sliced

1½ tbsp avocado oil (we used extra virgin olive oil)

2 tsp Italian seasoning

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

2 sliced chicken sausages (we had 4)

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Toss 2 sliced parsnips, 1½ cups each chopped broccoli and cauliflower and ¼ cup sliced red onion with 1½ tbsp avocado oil, 2 tsp Italian seasoning and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper; spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize. In the last 10 minutes, add 2 sliced chicken sausages.

Bonus Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe

By Graig Jolley

2-3 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into cubes

1 medium to large red onion, cut into slices

1.5-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Dried or chopped fresh rosemary (optional) to taste

Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425ºF. Toss potatoes and onions with olive oil and seasonings. Place on a parchment lined pan. To insure crispier result, avoid overcrowding because then the water from the potatoes will cause it to steam, creating a softer/mushier outcome. Roast for 45-60 minutes, shaking or stirring pan every so often.

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