The orange and dill in the dressing on this dish adds a rich flavor to this hot and satisfying casserole. Full of hearty winter vegetables, it is sure to please the whole family on a cold day.
Eating in season is a breeze in the spring and summer, but it can prove to be challenging when cold weather sets in. However, some vegetables can survive the cold, even under a blanket of snow. These are known as winter vegetables, due to their ability to withstand cold, harsh weather.
These cold-hardy varieties can withstand frosty temperatures due to the higher amount of sugar that they contain. The sugar found in the water of winter vegetables causes them to freeze at a lower point, which allows them to survive in cold weather.
Additionally, this process results in cold-hardy vegetables tasting sweeter in the cooler months, making winter the optimal time for harvest.
Winter Root Vegetables for the Win
Carrots, onions, and potatoes are perhaps the most popular among this special group that also includes beets, celery root, kohlrabi, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. During the colder months, these veggies find their way into the spotlight and onto the plates of healthy eaters—and all for good reason.
Rutabagas, for instance, are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamins C and E. Antioxidants can help reverse oxidative damage to your cells and prevent chronic health problems. They help you stay healthy by protecting your immune system and organs from free radicals.
Rutabagas offer plenty of health benefits, including:
High in fiber. They’re an ideal source of roughage in your diet. Eating rutabagas can regulate your bowel movements and help you maintain a healthy gut. Including high-fiber foods in your diet can also help prevent colorectal cancer.
Low in calories. Adding rutabagas to your meals can help with weight loss, which can help prevent long-term (chronic) conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
High in potassium. Your body needs potassium to keep your nervous system and muscles working as best they can. It also helps maintain blood pressure, protect against stroke, and prevent kidney stones.
Why is Bok Choy a Good Main Ingredient?
Bok choy is widely used in Chinese cooking, frequently in soups, salads, stir-fries and fillings for spring rolls, potstickers, steamed buns and dumplings.
Its mild flavor shines when it's stir-fried in sesame oil with a little garlic and/or ginger and a splash of soy sauce or a sprinkle of salt.
Believe it or not, bok choy has over 70 antioxidant compounds and has been included in many studies to understand how antioxidants reduce your risk of cancer.
Bok choy is an especially good source of vitamins C and K. It also contains some fiber, a critical nutrient found only in plant foods. Fiber supports digestive health and helps reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, while significantly improving the health of your microbiome.
As with most non-starchy vegetables, the glycemic index of bok choy can't be determined by standard procedures, but eating bok choy is assumed to have very little effect on blood glucose levels. For 1 cup of raw bok choy, the glycemic load is 1. A glycemic load of less than 10 is considered to be low and should have little effect on blood glucose levels.
Although boasting a ton of flavor, bok choy is fairly minimal as far as calories, fat, sodium, and sugar go. Here’s what a 1-cup serving of the veggie looks like:
Fat: 0.1 grams
Carbohydrates: 1.5 grams
Protein: 1.1 grams
Sodium: 45.5 milligrams
Sugar: 0.8 grams
Fiber: 0.7 gram
Bok Choy Buying Tips
Bok choy can be found in many different varieties and goes by many different names including pak choy, white cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese cabbage and many others. It's a cruciferous vegetable, which means it is a powerful cancer-fighter, that has white to green stalks and dark green leaves.
Bok choy also comes in different sizes. Unless you go to an Asian grocery store, you are most likely to find “regular” bok choy or a smaller version called “baby” bok choy. There isn’t much difference between baby bok choy and the larger variety other than size, but some claim the baby bok choy is more tender.
When picking bok choy, look for fresh, bright green leaves and crisp, pale white to green stalks. It's best to use it as soon as possible, but it will store well in the refrigerator for several days.
Before using it, you should clean it to wash out any dirt or grit that may be lodged in the leaves or stalks.
Bok choy should be stored in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer in a loose or perforated plastic bag. It will last up to three to four days in the refrigerator. Don't wash until immediately before cooking. If frozen, it can last between 10 and 12 months.
But What About the Broccoli?
Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables. This green veggie can be enjoyed both raw and cooked, but recent research shows that gentle steaming provides the most health benefits.
Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and almost no fat. Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup.
Broccoli’s carbohydrates mainly consist of fiber and sugars. The sugars are fructose, glucose, and sucrose, with small amounts of lactose and maltose. However, the total carb content is very low, with only 3.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates per cup, making it a great addition to this recipe.
Sesame Orange Dill Vegetable Casserole
For the Dressing
- juice from 1 orange
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp low-sodium coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the Vegetables
- 1 small rutabaga peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (approximately 3 to 4 cups)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 medium red potato peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 15 okral trimmed and roughly chopped
- 4 cups bok choy chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
- Preheat the oven to Bake at 350 degrees F.
- Make the dressing in a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, sesame seeds, garlic, soy sauce, dill, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Steam the rutabaga for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Steam the carrots, sweet potato and red potato for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the steamed vegetables along with the okra, bok choy, broccoli florets and the dressing. Toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish (13 by 9-inch). Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Toss the vegetable mixture again and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Serve hot.