By Gail Billings, Edibles-n-Such Catering–
What are Root Vegetables?
A root vegetable is basically any veggie that we eat that grows underground. You might think of carrots and potatoes first, but there’s other root veggies you might already be using, or could try using next:
- Celery Root
Some of these, like onions and potatoes you are probably cooking with regularly. But other things on this list, like turmeric, ginger and garlic will make a good addition to other dishes to add some other health benefits.
Root vegetables tend to be high in antioxidants, a good source of vitamins and iron. They are also high in slow-burning carbs and fiber. These veggies also pair well with proteins, other types of veggies, rice, and can be made in many different ways. Cooking with root vegetables can be easy, delicious, and nutritious.
Prepping and Cleaning Root Veggies
It is time to think about making your favorite dish using the various root vegetables! You will find root veggies sprinkled around the fresh produce section of your favorite grocery store.
You need to make sure you are washing your root veggies well before using them. Vinegar and water baths and a good scrub with a veggie brush, finished with a rinse, are best for the heartier veggies, like carrots and potatoes. Softer items just need a good soak, a light brush on any stubborn spots, and a rinse.
You can peel heartier veggies, and you of course need to peel onions and garlic, but consider using those potato peels. The potato peel of a russet potato has more nutrients than the insides. It is especially good to eat the skin if you need a little extra fiber.
A bit of prep and planning the day before, or before heading out to work in the morning will make mealtime run a lot smoother. Springtime is when we caterers begin recommending dishes that include root vegetables.
Simple Roasting Method
To prepare root veggies, start by lining a sheet pan or a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the firm root veggies (like carrots, parsnips, turnips, white or sweet potatoes) in a bowl with a lid and toss them in the oil and seasoning, such as kosher salt, pepper, and garlic, until well coated.
Spread the seasoned vegetables evenly onto the lined pan or baking sheet, make sure they’re in a single layer. Put the tray in a preheated oven @ 400 degrees. Once tender and caramelized (browned a little from the sugar content in the veggies). They are ready to serve.
For added flavor and color, roast other veggies, such as red, yellow, and orange peppers, mushrooms, red onion, brussel sprouts and asparagus, and put those on another pan. Add seasonings and olive oil and roast them for about 10 minutes. Closely watch these veggies, as they do not take as long to cook as the other vegetables.
When they are finished cooking, combine them with the root above. You can add fresh herbs or season to taste, and enjoy!