root-vegetables

Root vegetables have, in the past, been thought of as the poor step child in the culinary world. But they are making a huge come back and can be the star of your next dinner party.

History

Root vegetables – and that includes potatoes – were easy to grow and plentiful for a larger family. But vegetables like parsnips, turnips and rutabaga were usually steamed or boiled and had little to no flavor.

Not anymore.

Root vegetables also include beets, carrots and radishes and they are equally as important and vital to any nutritious meal. What is wonderful about any of these root veggie suggestions is that they have a unique versatility. Cook them or leave them raw. It’s your choice.

Sweet Potatoes

The next time you think about French fries or even a baked potato, use a sweet potato instead. They’re great for a baked potato bar with fixings like broccoli and cheese and can also be cut up into wedges and baked in the oven with some salt, pepper and herbs.

Beets

These sweet little treats are good cooked or raw. And don’t forget to use the beet greens in a salad with other vegetables.

Turnips

This vitamin-packed root veggie is one you’ll want to peel. They look like little softballs and are usually white. Peel and cut them like white potatoes and roast them in the oven along with a chicken. They can also be steamed or microwaved and then put into a blender with some cream for a puree.

Rutabagas

A member of the cabbage family, the rutabaga – also known as a Swedish turnip – is larger than a turnip, purple in color and have a sweet orange flesh inside. They are a versatile veggie, equally good in soups and stews as well as eaten raw as a snack.

Its best health benefit comes from the punch of Vitamin C and antioxidants which can keep your immune system running strong.

If you like hearty soups, this is the root veg for you. It can be used with sweet potatoes and squash for a soul warming meal.

Parsnips

We love parsnips because they have a sweet taste.

Like turnips, parsnips can also be pureed and act as the base to building a delicious dish. Set a piece of fish or chicken on top with a warm beet green salad, and you’ll have a highly flavorful meal that’s rich in vitamins and minerals.

Parsnips look like white carrots. They can be peeled but, like their orange cousins, and the best nutrition lies in the skins. You can use them raw in salads like you would a carrot and they can be mashed together with leeks or cauliflower after cooking. Additionally, parsnips may be used in either sweet or savory dishes.

Make any of these root vegetables the star of your next dinner party!

 

Image: iStockPhoto