When I think of what vegetables to serve for dinner, I usually run the gamut of broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, corn on the cob (when I can get local and/or organic in season), Brussels sprouts, or a fresh salad. I don’t often think of turnips, rutabaga, beets, or parsnips. Why aren’t these lovely root vegetables getting the love and attention they deserve on the weekly meal plan? I think it is time to change that!
What are Root Vegetables?
Root vegetables are any vegetable that the root (the underground portion) is edible. There are so many root vegetables, I never realized the variety that was available. Besides the ones listed above, other vegetables that are considered root vegetables include:
- Sweet Potato
- Jerusalem artichoke
This is just a very, very small sample of the numerous root vegetables available for consumption. Who knew there were so many different types of vegetables?
Benefits of Root Vegetables
Nutritionally, the content of each root vegetable is as varied as the root vegetable itself. Root vegetables are grown directly in the soil and therefore absorb all the nutrients and minerals of the soil, as well as sunlight from their leaves. Root vegetables are complex carbohydrates, providing fuel for your body and for the most part, you will find root vegetables to be high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, beta carotene, antioxidants, and fiber.
Root vegetables also have a great shelf life. For example, rutabagas can last for up to three months when stored properly, and potatoes can last through the entire winter! Because of these wonderful storage conditions, root vegetables were a popular garden staple before refrigeration and freezer preservation became the norm and “root cellars” were a must for any homestead.
How to Consume Root Vegetables
The recipe I have included for you today is a simple roasted root vegetable medley which is how we typically enjoy these vegetables all year-long (we also like them as the base layer when roasting a chicken-yum!). Like most things in life, there is no one way to do something. Root vegetables are no exception, and below are just a few of the ways that you can eat these delicious tubers!
- Veggie Chips-Sweet potatoes, parsnips, and rutabagas are great for dipping!
- Grill them! Brush turnips, carrots, or fennel with olive oil and grill them next to some delicious steaks.
- Make fries-carrots, sweet potatoes, and even turnips can be made into a quick and easy side dish (check out this recipe!).
- Salad/Slaw-Fennel, jicama, and radishes can be julienned and added to salad or slaw for a unique flavor.
- 3 lbs of root vegetables, cleaned and cut into 1 inch cubes (a mixture of carrots, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 T. fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ c. Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a sheet pan, mix all ingredients except Parmesan cheese.Roast for approximately one hour until vegetables are fork tender.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving (if using).
Do you have a favorite root vegetable? Or is there one listed you have been wanting to try?