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Root revival: Ground veggies packed with nutrients

In keeping with a theme of staying healthy during winter, let’s focus on the more popular than ever root vegetable.

Recently there’s been a revival of sorts – a renewed interest in fresher tasting, healthier, old-fashioned foods. And they’re now garnering the attention of home cooks. Why? Because they’re the foods that keep us well.

Because they absorb nutrients from the soil, root vegetables are another superfood. Superfoods refer to whole, plant-based, non-processed foods that provide fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Whether a carrot, potato, parsnip, turnip, beet, sweet potato, celeriac, or rutabaga – each is delicious roasted and served whole, sliced, or as a creamy puree. Easy prep and versatility make root vegetables winners for winter.

The root of the matter – these are some of the heartiest and healthiest foods you can eat.

ROASTED BEETS AND GREENS

8 trimmed, unpeeled, large beets

5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. garlic-infused or other flavor oil

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

20 oz. baby greens mix

1 ¼ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

In a bowl, toss whole beets with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Pour water in bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Place beets in dish, and cover with foil. Roast in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until beets are tender. Cool, peel, and cut into ½-inch pieces. Toss with flavored oil. In a bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, and any leftover beet juice.  Salt and pepper. Wash and dry greens. Toss with just enough of the vinegar mix to coat. Serve with beets on top of greens and spoon remaining dressing. Sprinkle toasted nuts on top.

SIMPLE ROASTED POTATOES

2 lbs. unpeeled, russet potatoes

2 Tbsp. canola oil

Vegetable oil spray

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1- inch widths. In a bowl, toss potatoes with canola oil. Spray baking sheet with vegetable oil. Spread potatoes in a single layer on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 450-degree oven while occasionally turning for 50-60 minutes or until golden. Salt and pepper again, to taste.

HONEY CARROTS WITH TARRAGON

4 Tbsp. melted salted butter

2 Tbsp. honey

¼ cup water

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 lbs. peeled baby carrots

2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon, garnish

Fresh tarragon

In a heavy skillet, combine butter, honey, water, and vinegar, and heat to melt butter. Add carrots and tarragon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on medium heat for 12 minutes. Uncover and cook 5-6 additional minutes until carrots are tender. Season with salt and pepper. When serving, sprinkle tarragon on top of carrots.

ROOT VEGETABLES GLAZED IN CIDER

6 Tbsp. salted butter

2 peeled, 1/3-inch cut carrots

3 peeled 1/3-inch cut parsnips

2 med. peeled, diced sweet potatoes

1 sm. ½-inch sliced red onion

1 cup sparkling apple cider

2 Tbsp. apple brandy

3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

Prepare vegetables. Cut slices of red onion in half. Generously grease a deep baking sheet with butter. Arrange vegetables in a single layer. Drizzle cider over vegetables. Dot with 6 Tbsp. butter. Salt and pepper. Cover top tightly with foil. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and toss vegetables in butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Before serving, drizzle apple brandy and toss to coat.  Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with fresh parsley. Salt and pepper again, to taste.

PUREE OF SQUASH AND SWEET POTATO

4 peeled, halved, red-skinned sweet potatoes

1 seeded, butternut squash

4 Tbsp. melted salted butter

1 chopped white onions

2 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ cup beef broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare potatoes and squash by halving lengthwise. Place cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Roast in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour or until tender. Place vegetables in a bowl and mash. In a skillet, melt butter, and saute onions until clear. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and stir to mix. Add onion mixture to vegetables with beef broth.  Puree in a processor until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

GRATIN OF TURNIP AND POTATO

1 lb. peeled, diced russet potatoes

1 lb. peeled, diced turnips

3 sliced shallots

3 large, minced garlic cloves

2 cups whipping cream

3 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Arrange potatoes, turnips, shallots, and garlic in a greased, glass baking dish. In a saucepan, combine whipping cream, half and half, salt, and pepper until hot. Pour over vegetables. Salt and pepper the top. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown and vegetables are tender.

STEW OF ROOT VEGETABLES

2 cups peeled diced yams

2 cups peeled diced turnips

1 cup peeled diced rutabaga

2 cups peeled diced parsnips

1 ½ cup chicken broth, plus

1 lb. skinless, boneless, chicken breast

1 medium chopped onion

1 cup diced tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a deep pot, place peeled, diced root veggies. Add chicken broth. In a skillet, heat oil and add chicken pieces. Chop chicken, and saute for 2 minutes while stirring. Add chicken to vegetables. Saute onion in juices for 5 minutes or until golden. Add onion, juices, and tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.  Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

GRATIN OF CELERY ROOT

POTATO WITH CHEESE

¾ lb. peeled, halved, sliced celery root

2 ¼ lbs. unpeeled, sliced russet potatoes

3 sliced shallots

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 ½ cups crumbled blue or Stilton cheese, divided

In a heavy skillet, combine celery, potatoes, shallots, broth, and cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, occasionally turning while cooking 10 minutes. Add half of vegetables, using slotted spoon, to a 9 x 13 greased baking dish. Salt and pepper. Crumble 1 cup of cheese over top. Place remaining vegetables on top. Pour liquid over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper again.  Crumble 1 cup of cheese over top. Cover tightly. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

CARROT AND RUTABAGA MASH

2 peeled, sliced carrots

1 ½ lbs. peeled, cut ½-inch, rutabagas

2 garlic cloves

Bay leaf

Salted water

1 ½ lb. peeled, cut ½-inch, russet potatoes

4 Tbsp. salted butter

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a pot, boil carrots, rutabagas, garlic, and bay leaf in salted water for 25 minutes. Add cut potatoes and cook additional 20 minutes or until all veggies are tender. Drain well. Remove bay leaf. Return vegetables to the pot. Mash all vegetables. Add butter and continue to mash until smooth. Add fresh parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

SWEET POTATO- BANANA CASSEROLE

4 unpeeled, sliced sweet potatoes

1 ½ tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. salted butter

4 cut, halved bananas

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup pulp-free orange juice

nutmeg

In a pot, boil sweet potatoes until tender but firm. When cooled down, peel and slice ¼-inch thick. Peel bananas, cut in half across center and again lengthwise. In a butter greased casserole dish, arrange layers of sweet potato slices. Starting with potatoes on the bottom, alternate layers of sliced sweet potatoes, salted and dotted with butter, with the halved bananas sprinkled with brown sugar. End with banana slice on top and dot with butter. Pour orange juice over all. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned on top.

CROQUETTES OF VEGETABLES

¾ cup coarsely grated carrots

1 cup julienne-cut potatoes

½ cup chopped onions

2 minced garlic cloves

2 beaten eggs

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup water

1 ½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ cup vegetable oil

In a bowl, combine the carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic. In another bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, flour, water, and salt and pepper. Stir the vegetables into the flour mixture. In a skillet, heat the oil. Drop the vegetable mix by Tbsp. into the oil. Fry until brown on both sides.