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5 tasty ways to enjoy the nutrient richness of root veggies

By Staff | Oct 4, 2013

Aside from carrots (one of the most popular veggies in the US), most other root vegetables don’t get the nutritional respect they deserve. These often forgotten residents of the produce department are packed with important nutrients, tasty in a variety of dishes, low in cost, and able to be stored for long periods of time.

1. Carrots

While most of us are very familiar with the bright orange version of this “rabbit food,” carrots also come in purple, white, red, and yellow. They are delicious and crunchy when eaten raw – whole or grated into salads. Carrots are great in soups and they can also add nutrition, color, and sweetness to desserts, like muffins, bread, and cakes.

2. Beets

Beets also come in multiple colors – purple, gold, and white. Small beets are usually sweeter and more tender, with greens that are perfect for adding to salads (raw), stir-fries, and soups. Beet roots can be stored the fridge for up to 3 weeks, then steamed in the microwave, roasted in oven, or grilled outdoors (in thick slices or on a kebab stick).

3. Sweet potatoes

Talk about nutritious, delicious, and versatile, sweet potatoes (sometimes labeled as yams) are a best buy in any produce department. Substitute these nutrient-rich veggies for their pale white cousins in almost any dish (peeling them first) : baked, mashed, roasted, boiled and chopped for salad, or sliced, oiled, and baked for oven fries.

4. Turnips and

rutabagas

While these roots come from the same family, rutabagas are usually larger and sweeter. Turnip shapes vary from round to cylindrical and come in colors from rose to black, as well as white. Both can be cooked like potatoes (baked, boiled, roasted, and mashed). They can be grated like cabbage into slaw and stir-fried with more colorful veggies.

5. Kohlrabi

One of the lesser known root veggies, kohlrabi tastes like a delicious, crunchy cross between a cucumber and mild broccoli (it’s from the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower). Look for purple or green kohlrabi bulbs. Both have white inner flesh, which can be eaten raw (like jicama) or cooked. Leaves can be used like beet greens.

Roasted root vegetables

4 medium-sized root vegetables (choose a variety from potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.)

2 chopped carrots

1 medium chopped onion

3-4 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Season with your favorite spices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut vegetables into large chunks. Place in a medium bowl and pour oil over top. Add Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Mix well. Spread an even layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 1 hour or until tender. Start checking the vegetables at about 45 minutes to see if they are the proper texture. YIELD: 4 servings (approx. 1 cup each)

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