03/12/2012 02:26 EDT | Updated 05/12/2012 05:12 EDT

HEALTHY PLATE: Recipe for Passover root vegetable casserole with fresh herbs

Get your Passover Seder off to a healthy start with a flavourful root vegetable casserole.

We seasoned it with citrus and herbs and added a crumb topping. In keeping with the kosher for Passover rules, we used crushed matzo in place of the more traditional breadcrumb topping that goes with casseroles. Just a touch of oil helps to keep it crunchy.

We kept the vegetables moist with applesauce. If you don't have homemade applesauce, be sure to select a brand that is unsweetened.

Passover Root Vegetable Casserole

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)

60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil, divided

2 red onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

500 g (1 lb) carrots (consider using rainbow carrots), cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces

500 g (1 lb) beets, peeled and cut into wedges

500 g (1 lb) celeriac, peeled and cubed

250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened applesauce

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh thyme

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh savoury

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh tarragon

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

5 matzos, crushed

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground coriander

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F). Coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the olive oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine onions and garlic with sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, celeriac, applesauce, lemon zest, orange zest, thyme, savoury and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Spoon into prepared casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine crushed matzos with the remaining 45 ml (3 tbsp) of olive oil and coriander. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Bake for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 170 calories; 40 calories from fat (25 per cent of total calories); 5 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 4 g fibre; 270 mg sodium.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. It deletes a reference to the kosher qualities of sweetened applesauce.