Roasted Root Vegetable Tzimmes

In Yiddish, or more accurately Yinglish, (a blend of old world and new), the word Tzimmes means “to make a fuss.” As in, “why are you making such a tzimmes over nothing!” A phrase that will prove to be a very handy comeback when dealing with my 15-year old daughter. I can see using it daily. So this dish, Tzimmes, a traditional favorite for Rosh Hashanna, is really simple, but a little bit of a fuss because of the prep. Carrots, turnips, parsnips, and in this case, butternut squash need to be peeled, sectioned and cut into cubes. Laced with honey, dried fruits and spices it is a culinary hope for a sweet and satisfying year ahead. I’m bringing it to our extended family gathering for the holiday.

I cheated a little by using “baby” carrots, which we know are not really baby carrots but just ugly carrots that get whittled down by machine to look like cute babies. Vegetal cosmetic surgery. So I didn’t have to peel those. OK…I bought the butternut squash already peeled too. It was there, right next to the whole squash, it was peeled, I was in a hurry to get it done for tonight, so I justified it. So, my Tzimmes is already not turning out to be so fussy. (and my writing is starting to have a Jewish accent! OY!)

I added raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots and crystalized ginger. Not much fuss there.

Cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, cumin, salt…

and honey, a good amount of honey (please…I need a good year….you know, good health, a strong heart,  6 matching numbers in the Mega Millions…)

Some traditional recipes I’ve seen call for simmering this low and slow on the stovetop, making a kind of mushy, color faded stew. It could be why I was never a big fan of the dish. I roasted them in my clay roasting pan instead, but any roasting pan will do. Before I put it in the oven I added some chicken broth and orange juice, coating the mix and giving it some liquid to steam up through it during roasting. The veggies stay nice and moist that way, not to mention that added glaze from the reduced stock and juice. And don’t forget the honey. For a sweet, sweet New Year.

PS…it’s an amazing addition to any fall, or holiday meal, add yams for Thanksgiving….(it’s really not that much of a fuss, and it’s worth it!)


Roasted Root Vegetable Tzimmes

serves 8-10


1 16-oz bag of baby carrots, cut lengthwise, in half
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium purple top turnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6-8 dried apricots, diced
3-4 pieces of crystalized ginger, finely diced
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground whole nutmeg (if available, if not use already ground)
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional as garnish)
Juice of one orange (or 1/2 cup store-bought)
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste after roasting)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep all ingredients as specified (this is the fuss part.)

2. Combine everything in on large roasting pan, including fruit, seasoning, spices and liquid. Cover tightly with snugly fitting lid or aluminum foil. This will allow the vegetables to steam and par cook. (this is the no fuss part.)

3. Roast for 25 minutes covered. Remove cover, gently toss vegetables to recoat in liquid. Roast for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are nicely glazed and lightly browned. Garnish with zest of one orange (optional).

You can also find this recipe posted on

17 responses to “Roasted Root Vegetable Tzimmes”

  1. Sharon says:

    Roasted root vegetables are almost a staple for me in the winter. Even though they do take a lot of work unless a willing partner or offspring pitches in. If you have time to focus a blog post (or two) on “easy” cutting and slicing techniques for vegetables – tricks of the trade – I would be sooo appreciative. The trick you taught me for peeling garlic has been a real time saver. Thanks Rachel. Happy and Healthy New Year!

    • Sharon, funny you should ask…I’m hoping to launch a “askthekitchenista” portion of this site devoted to answering kitchen and culinary questions, and I’m hoping to do a series of FoodFixer videos with tips in under two minutes…so stay posted. For now, the best advice I can offer for peeling is make sure you have a good, sharp peeler (I like the OXO peeler for the way it peels in both directions and feel substantial in your hand)…this will make it easier. Replace your peeler once a year or more often if you use it alot…it gets dull, just like a knife. Cut the veggied in uniform sections that you can line up and then pile on top of each other and cut in uniform cubes…saving time and getting more uniform pieces this way. Think of doing it in an efficient way that has you duplicating yourself less often…and you can always do what I did this time…buy hard to peel items already peeled in the store!

  2. Arlene Giniger says:

    Seriously, I never knew they did that to carrots. I did think they were babies!!!!!Oh well. I make root veggies in garlic and oil usually, will try this, as soon as I am able. Thanks for the recipe. Don’t eat too much over the holiday.

  3. Marc Blackwell says:

    Hi Rachel,

    LOOKS fantastic!! Thank you and Happy New Year. Lot’s to be thankful for!!


  4. This dish was amazing. My whole family enjoyed it very much. I served it over brown rice with a salad, and that was our whole dinner. I am in the process of converting them to vegetarianism, and recipes like this make it a lot easier. Thanks!!

  5. Pat Warner-Proctor says:

    Thanks, Rachel, for this recipe. It looks so yummy, I can’t wait to try it! And I’m glad you’re back healthy and better than ever. I’ve been taping all the new episodes of Chopped to make sure I don’t miss when you’re on. Keep us posted!

    • Pat, unfortunately my Chopped episode is not going to hair until this time next year! It’s a holiday episode…so probably November/December 2012. I can’t believe they film so many in advance, but they do. So…not to worry, I will keep you and everyone posted on the exact date when I find out….they said they’d let me know by end of November 2011 the exact date…Glad you liked the recipe!

  6. pam gallo says:

    Ugly carrots turned into beautiful babies, I always wondered how they came so uniform and cute, though I love the rustic country look of an “ugly” carrot. This Dish will be another of your recipes for our table again! Healthy Happy New Year to you!

  7. Adele Beverley says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m Anna’s mother and she sent me your recipe for roasted vegetable tsimmes.
    We had family here for dinner this evening. I made the tsimmes and everyone loved it.
    Keep the recipes coming,

  8. Judy says:

    Dear Rachel. I just saw your tsimmes recipe a couple of days ago and finished the cutting and chopping for our Rosh Hashanah dinner. Looks amazing. I see that there is no fat in it. What are your thoughts on adding margarine? Or brown sugar. And thank you for posting it. Happy and healthy New Year. Judy

    • MMM, Judy…no fat in the recipe? I’ll have to look at that…but yes…if you are trying to keep it pareve, then I’d suggest olive oil over margarine, which is usually transfats, unless it’s one of those healthier spreads…and brown sugar could be nice…but I prefer the taste of honey…and the honey is more traditional for Rosh Hashanna! Happy New Year and hope you have a great meal!

  9. Judy says:

    Rachel: Thanks so much for responding so quickly. I’ll go with some olive oil and honey. We’ll see how it turns out tomorrow night!

  10. Kamala says:

    Rachel, The mush factor of traditional tzimmes has always turned me off, too! Love your roasting idea! I purchased my ingredients before finding your recipe and so have a question: I’m a tiny bit attached to using prunes and/or dates. Do you think that would be a disaster to include them in the roasting? Perhaps add them toward the end? Thanks!

    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, good question about the dates and prunes. I’d roast the veggies as directed in the recipe, then perhaps toss the chopped dates and prunes in during the last five minutes of roasting, or right as you take them out of the oven. If you want to roast the veggies with the dates and prunes from the start, you should rehydrate them first in hot water for at least 15-30 minutes so they don’t get dried out and hardened in the roasting process.

      Hope that helps!

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