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A Chocolate Valentine’s Menu

In the spirit of my periodic tribute to the 2000 movie Chocolat, today I offer readers this divine recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables with Chocolate Glaze. It’s just one in a series of dishes I’ve been developing over the years to imitate the chocolate-themed meal in one of movie history’s great food scenes!

Vianne (Juliette Binoche) is a chocolate shop owner in a small French village who gives a small birthday party for her older friend, Armande (Dame Judi Dench). Vianne serves an entire meal accented with chocolate sauces that you can almost taste while watching the scene, as guests make murmuring sounds of ecstasy.

I always thought it would be fun to create a vegetarian or vegan meal with the same theme and equal elegance. So, now I am adding another option to such a menu. This root vegetable recipe can be created as a savory dish, with complementary flavors of sweet, sour, and pungent by using leeks or onions plus a bit of good balsamic vinegar. Or you can skip those ingredients and just go for sweet!

Have fun preparing a love-filled meal for your sweetheart or family and friends. (Even your kids may enjoy these Roasted Root Vegetables with Chocolate Glaze!)

PS For a more complete chocolate meal, try these dishes. First course: Savory Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms & Chocolate Swirl. Desserts: See my Vegan Chocolate Cake, Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake, Vegan Fudge Brownies, OMG Chocolate Chip Cookies, and double chocolate chip cookies, and puddings here.

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ROASTED ROOD VEGETABLES WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

Preparation Time: 90 minutes or less, depending on your kitchen tools
Serves: 4 to 8

My regular readers will see that I’m currently on a carrots and parsnips kick, but you can substitute any root vegetables—or, for that matter, even cruciferous vegetables—if you wish. Use roasted onions or leeks and a touch of balsamic for a savory dish or omit them for a sweeter result.

For the roasting sheets
8 large carrots
4 to 5 large parsnips
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon avocado oil, divided
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon mineral salt plus 1 pinch, divided
2 to 3 large or medium beets
2 medium or large leek bulbs plus an inch of the light-green shank (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

For the chocolate glaze
2 to 2.5 ounces organic dark chocolate
1 tablespoon avocado oil
⅛ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh almond milk or water
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 teaspoons coconut sugar, or to taste

Cook’s Tip: (1) You can use any combination of chopped vegetables up to 8 cups. (2) I used a 2.5-ounce Evolved Signature Dark bar, which is 72% organic chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar, for the glaze. You can halve the glaze recipe for a lighter glaze.

1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Slice the carrots and parsnips in ⅛-inch rounds (or slice in a food processor) and set aside. Separately, slice the beets in ¼-inch thick rounds; then cut into ½-inch squares.

2. Combine the 2 tablespoons of oil with the cumin, coriander, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the sliced carrots and parsnips to the bowl and stir well to coat the vegetables. Arrange the carrots and parsnips in a single layer on one of the sheet pans. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt to the same bowl and add the cubed beets. Toss well to pick up the residue of oil and spices still in the bowl and arrange the beets on the second sheet pan.

3. Roast the beets alone for 10 minutes, as they will take longer to get tender. Add the carrots and parsnips and roast both pans for another 35 to 40 minutes.

4. While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the glaze: Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan with the 1 tablespoon of oil (and optional balsamic vinegar) on low heat. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in almond milk or water and vanilla, and then add the coconut sugar, starting with 1 teaspoon and adding more if you wish.

5. When the vegetables are all completely tender, brush them with the chocolate glaze. Garnish the glazed vegetables with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately or move the vegetables to a baking dish and into a warm oven until you’re ready to serve.

Ayurvedic Note: Chocolate can increase all doshas so it’s always best to eat chocolate in moderation.

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