m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Root Roast

This “recipe” was inspired by not making tzimmes one holiday. Instead, I set the oven to 400° and started roasting the ingredients piecemeal, which probably was not faster the way I did it.

Serves: any number of people


All roots are cut up unless otherwise indicated.


  • potatoes: 45 minutes
  • sweet dumpling squash: 35 minutes
  • delicata squash: 30 minutes
  • sweet dumpling squash (halved): 25 minutes
  • delicata squash (halved): 20 minutes
  • zucchini: 15 minutes
  • leeks: 15 minutes
  • sweet potatoes or yams: 12 minutes


Per pound of roots:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp. spice mix (e.g., berbere) or to taste
  • ½ tsp. salt or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Cut the roots into bite-sized pieces, keeping them separated by cooking times. (Onion-related ingredients may be left larger, and squashes may be halved instead.) Start with the slowest one. Feel free to fudge some times if they’re within 5 minutes of each other.
  3. Still keeping items separated by time, mix with toppings.
  4. Arrange the longest-roasting items in a single layer in a roasting pan. Set the timer for the indicated number of minutes.
  5. Roast until it’s time to put in the next ingredient (that is, when the timer has counted down to that number of minutes). Stir the previous batch (if relevant), and add the next ingredient. Add more pans as necessary, especially for any squash halves.
  6. Repeat the previous step for all cooking times.
  7. When the timer goes off, remove everything from the oven. Chop any squash halves to bite-sized, peeling if necessary, and mix.


You don’t have to mix the results if you don’t want to; you can also spice the items differently, or spice batches of the same item differently.

I recommend a spice mix that includes salt for ease of eyeballing regardless of root weight, but you can use something more traditional like the spices from my roasted potatoes recipe (per 1 lb. of roots):

  • 2 cloves garlic, diced, or a heaping ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • heaping ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • cumin to taste
  • paprika (for appearance)