Insider’s Viewpoint: Getting Back to Our Roots with Root Veggies
Roots provide plants with the nourishment that they need to grow and flourish. Similarly, root veggies are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that help support our bodies. Celebrate these last weeks of winter by adding this wholesome, delicious produce to your plate!
4 Delicious Ways to Prep Root Veggies
- Bold Beets
Beets pack a punch of both flavor and color! Traditional red beets can be found in the grocery store year-round and contain nutrients such as fiber and vitamin C. Enjoy raw, steamed, or roasted, like in the Feta & Mint Balsamic Roasted Beets recipe below! If stained hands are your barrier to adding beets to your plate, overcome this obstacle by wearing disposable gloves while you’re prepping!
- Radical Rutabaga
Don’t let the rough outer skin fool you—the meat of rutabagas add a creamy, subtle sweetness to your meal! They’re in season October through March and are bursting with fiber and vitamin C, as well as B vitamins, thiamin and B6. Try them roasted or in the Baked Rutabaga Mash recipe below!
- Colorful Carrots
Whether orange, purple, yellow, red or white, carrots are a great addition to any table! They’re filled with fiber and antioxidants such as vitamins A and C. Each color provides sweet notes with a sliding scale of underlying spice. These delicious veggies are available year-round and can be enjoyed fresh, roasted, or steamed! For a new take on a classic veggie, combine several carrot varieties in the Ginger & Pistachio Carrot Salad recipe below.
- Perfect Parsnips
These cousins to carrots offer a delicious sweetness with an underlying earthy tone. Parsnips peak November through April and provide our bodies with fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Serve roasted parsnips with a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper, or puréed in a comforting, creamy dish, like the Roasted Root Vegetable Soup recipe below!
While roots are the focus for these veggies, don’t forget their greens above grounds! Green tops add a pop of nutrition, flavor, and color! If you buy root veggies with greens attached, don’t throw them out! Instead, try them steamed, sautéed, or in a fresh salad!
Feta & Mint Balsamic Roasted Beets
- 4 beets, peeled
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 2 sprigs mint
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cleaned, unpeeled beets in aluminum foil, and roast in oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Gently rub the skins off of roasted beets. Thickly slice beets and onion into wedges.
- Place on greased baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. If desired, add pepper to taste. Roast 10-12 minutes, or until onion wedges are slightly browned.
- While vegetables cook, chop mint leaves finely.
- Carefully remove dish from oven. Add crumbled feta on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with mint.
- Serve and enjoy!
Baked Rutabaga Mash
- Cooking Spray
- 3 lbs rutabaga
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 8 (6-oz) ramekins with cooking spray. Trim and peel rutabaga and cut into small chunks. Peel garlic.
- In a large pot, add rutabaga and garlic. Cover with water and heat to a boil. Reduce to medium and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Drain vegetables very well. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Transfer puréed veggies to a large bowl and stir in Greek yogurt, thyme, and pepper to taste.
- Transfer mixture to the greased ramekins. Top with bread crumbs and bake in the oven 15 minutes.
- Allow ramekins to cool slightly before serving and enjoying!
Ginger & Pistachio Carrot Salad
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- Wisk the ginger, vinegar, olive oil, and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Toss in the carrots and mix to combine.
- Fold in the cilantro and pistachios.
- Season with pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
- 1 lb sweet potatoes
- 1 ½ lb yellow onion
- ½ lb carrots
- ½ lb white turnips
- ¼ lb parsnip
- ¼ lb leeks
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 32 oz reduced sodium veggie broth
- 14 oz canned petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz evaporated skim milk
- Low-fat cheese, optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel and quarter potatoes. Peel and slice onions, carrots, turnips, and parsnips into ½-inch thick slices. Slice only the white part of the leek into ½-inch slices.
- Place the cut veggies in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix with clean fingertips to coat all sides of the veggies.
- Arrange on a large baking tray and roast in oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown, turning the vegetables once during the process.
- Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, and pepper and let the mixture slowly simmer. Remove the bay leaf and scrape the roasted veggies into the soup pot. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Purée the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Return to the heat and add milk.
- Serve, top with cheese if desired, and enjoy!
Recipes adapted from Giant Food LLC, Savory Magazine Online Recipe Database.
Natalie Kannan, RD