In the cold months, we slow down a litte, spend more time inside, bundle up in layers...and eat root vegetables. With the yearning for sunshine and warmth may come a yearning for springtime vegetables. While we're not quite at the point where winter and roots are going away (regardless of what the occasional spring-like day might suggest), there is still plenty of good eating to be had from these relatively low carbon-footprint local vegetables. Explore techniques and recipes for The Classics, Glazing, Braising, Pickling or Fermenting, Chips, Gnocchi, Au Gratin, Latkes, Salads and more!
We've got great go-to uses for root vegetables and some fabulous recipes!
Roasting: Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness, which you can see in the browned caramelized edges that develop as they cook. Many roots are extra-delicious when roasted. Use this Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe for guidance, or make extra special roasted roots, with this recipe for Rosemary Roasted New England Roots. Use roasted vegetables as-is or throw in a Grain Bowl or frittata or as breakfast hash with a fried egg or two on top.
Mashing: This method is not just for potatoes. Chopping into cubes, boiling, then mashing with butter and cream or olive oil and some of the cooking water is a simple, satisfying and comforting way to enjoy many root vegetables. We especially like Jamie Oliver’s Smashed Celeriac. Combine lots of different roots in this recipe for Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions.
Soup: Including root vegetables in soups is a great, simple way to make hearty meals. Blend roots into soup like this Carrot, Turnip and Lentil Soup or make a vibrantly-colored beet soup, or Borscht. You can also bring some greens into the mix, as in this Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Cumin and Lemon.
Now, let's get on to some wild and wonderful ideas that may be new to you, so you can shake up your root routine.
Glazing is a fancy sounding - and looking - cooking technique that leaves your veggies tender, slightly sweet and shiny. The basic method is to combine butter, liquid - think broth - and sugar or honey in a pan. Cook the veggies covered until tender, then uncover to allow most of the liquid to cook off. Toss to coat in the thick butter and sugar glaze. A splash of vinegar or lemon juice just before serving adds a nice brightness as does a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs like cilantro or parsley or chives or basil. This basic recipe for Glazed Root Vegetables is a good place to start. We also like these Cider Glazed Root Vegetables and Brown-Sugar Glazed Beets.
Braising vegetables involves cooking them in a small amount of liquid covered at low heat. Once the vegetables are tender, you can reduce the liquid that is left into a tasty sauce to pour over them. Try this recipe for Braised Turnips, Carrots and Onions, or make it a meal with this recipe for Polenta with Braised Root Vegetables. Or serve them over rice or greens drizzled with Spicy Peanut Sauce and sprinkled with cilantro and chopped peanuts.
pickled or fermented
Pickled roots are a tangy way to enjoy winter vegetables. Combine spices, vinegar and sliced veggies, give them some time, and enjoy! These recipes for Simple Pickled Radishes and Quick-Pickled Hakurei Turnips are a good place to start. If you would like to experiment with fermentation, these Ginger Carrots are a tasty snack for newbie and experienced fermentors alike.
dressed up as junk food
Sometimes you really just need something to be oily and salty. We get that, and starchy, flavorful root veggies are well-suited to satisfying these cravings. Make chips with purple top turnips, or make lovely pink Chioggia Beet and Watermelon Radish Chips. Many different types of roots are delicious baked into Garden Fries, perfect for when you need a savory treat.
Gnocchi, the pillow-like pasta, is often made with potatoes. This dish is perfectly adaptable, and making gnocchi with other roots opens up new flavor adventures. Embrace the brightest colors and flavors of winter with Red Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Pesto, see our how-to video or enjoy a sweet-savory pairing with this recipe for Pan-Fried Rutabaga and Potato Gnocchi or Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Oyster Mushrooms.
To make root vegetables feel decadent, there's nothing quite like preparing them au gratin. Layers of vegetables cooked in cheese and cream, what could be better? This adaptable recipe for Root Vegetable Gratin will help dress up whatever roots you have on hand.
LATKES - Not just at Hanukkah
Make your root vegetables feel festive by turning them into latkes! While potatoes are traditional many root vegetables lend themselves to this simple, yet special presentation. Dream up your own by grating about 3- 4 cups of root vegetables with a small onion, mix in an egg, S&P and 2-3 Tbsp of flour or matzo meal. Drop small spoonfuls into a frying pan of hot canola, 3-4 minutes each side. Or try one of our recipes Sweet Potato Latkes, Beet and Carrot Latkes, Classic Potato Latkes. All latkes are great with sour cream or applesauce. Your kids will thank you!
Roots are commonly thought of as just for cooking, but many are delicious raw. Radishes, turnips, carrots and even beets make great salad toppers sliced or grated, or can be sliced and snacked on as-is. Carrots and hummus are a classic combo, and we like dipping radish slices in this Feta Dip.
Salads made from mixes of grains and root vegetables make for a fresh, filling lunch or light supper. Quinoa is a great base, as in these recipes for Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chick Peas and Orange and Quinoa Salad with Beets, Daikon Radish and Feta. Or check out how we build DIY Grain Bowls. You can also use roots as the center of salads, as in Potato Black Radish Salad and Stephanie’s Carrot-Radish Slaw.