How to Cook with Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are the starchy tubers and roots of certain plants and include potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and much more. Synonymous with chilly weather, most root vegetables are at peak ripeness in the fall and spring and make comforting, filling, and healthy additions to many cozy recipes. Sweet, toothsome, and packed with nutrients, there are many ways to cook root vegetables to bring out their naturally delicious flavor and incorporate them into almost any recipe. Join us as we at Advanced Biotech take a look at some of our favorite ways to prepare root vegetables, and the flavors that will help them to shine.
Roasting is a dry-heat cooking technique in which heat from an oven, open flame, or other heat source completely surrounds the food, cooking it evenly on all sides. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in root vegetables and creates a crispy, browned exterior that packs a flavorful punch and delightful texture. Potatoes, rutabaga, beets, carrots, and turnips are all ideal candidates for roasting, as their firm flesh hold up well in high temperatures. To roast, scrub the vegetables clean, remove the peel if preferred, cut into uniform, bite-sized pieces and toss with a fat such as olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter, and roast on a baking sheet until tender. Both dried and fresh herbs like rosemary, garlic, thyme, and oregano make great additions to roasted vegetables and add a fresh and herbaceous layer of flavor. While perfectly delicious on their own, roasted vegetables can also be added to salads or blended into soups for a quick, nutritious, and umami-packed meal.
Mashed potatoes are a well-known dinnertime staple and comfort food. But did you know that other root vegetables can get the same treatment? Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, and celery root can also be peels, boiled, and mashed with milk and butter to create a creamy and filling side dish that compliments everything from steak to sea food and roasted chicken. For a sweet twist to mashed sweet potatoes, cinnamon and brown sugar add warmth, while a savory spin benefits from fresh herbs like parsley and green onion, as well as richer additions like smoky bacon and cheese.
Vegetable chips are a popular snack for health-minded consumers, but making them at home eliminates preservatives and other harmful additives and allows for a completely customized flavor profile. Simply peel root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, and taro – any root vegetables with a low water content, slice thinly and either fry in vegetable oil or coat with oil and bake to create crispy chips that rival retail products. A dash of salt and the addition of spices like garlic, dried basil and oregano, dried chilis like cayenne or chipotle, or sweet elements like cinnamon and sugar take this fun snack to another level.
Mashed, roasted, or fried – the ways to prepare root vegetables allow for endless flavor combinations and taste sensations. Shopping seasonally and buying locally reduces food waste and also helps to support local businesses!