My 3 Favorite Ways to Prepare Root Veggies

My 3 Favorite Ways to Prepare Root Veggies
By Stephanie Pedersen

Root veggies are a diverse lot. A few, such as the radish and turnip, are known for their sharp edge. Some—think carrots, sweet potatoes and beets—are real sweethearts. Others taste a bit like dirt (I’m looking at you, parsnip and celeriac). But when it comes to enjoying them, they all have something in common: They taste great prepared in one of these easy, fast ways:

  1. Roasted. If you’ve never made your own roasted root veggies, I bet you’ve had them in a restaurant or at a friend’s house. Roasted roots are one of the most popular veggie dishes of all time. Luckily for you, roasted roots are a cinch to make and can be prepared with a collection of different root vegetables, thus answering the questions: “What do I do with this lone parsnip?”. Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub your veggies and pat dry. Cut into ¼-inch or ½ inch cubes. Dump the cubes in a large mixing bowl and drizzle on just enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten the veggies. Too much oil and the veggies will not develop that delicious caramelized finish we all love so much. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Using your clean hands, toss everything to combine and dump on one or two baking sheets (make sure the vegetables are not on top of each other). Slide in the oven and cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  2. Pickled. You’ve probably eaten pickled beets before, and maybe even pickled turnip. But what about jicama, sunchoke, celeriac, radishes and other roots? Earthy roots take well to puckery brine. Create a quick pickle by peeling two pounds of your favorite root and slicing into planks, batons or wheels. Divide between two clean 1-quart Mason jars. In a small saucepan, heat together 2 cusp water, 2 cups white wine, apple cider or rice vinegar and a 2 tablespoons kosher salt (optional is a ½ tablespoon of sugar, honey, coconut nectar or another natural sweetener). Bring to a boil until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before pouring over veggies in each jar. Store jars in the fridge for a week.
  3. Shredded. What you do after you shred them is up to you. Delicious ideas to try include tossing shredded roots with a bit of vinaigrette and perhaps a sprinkle of your favorite herb (cilantro or dill are especially nice), quickly sautéing shreds—just until barely limp—in a bit of butter or oil with salt and pepper, or piling raw shreds in a sandwich or a salad or using as a garnish for soup or grilled meats.

Superfood expert Stephanie Pedersen is a cookbook author, media host and nutritional consultant. Her latest book is Roots: The Complete Guide to the Underground Superfood (Sterling).

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