6 Root Vegetables You Need to Try

Photo: Bundle of carrots and kohlrabi
Check out these six delicious and often overlooked vegetables that will transform the way you eat this fall and winter.

Not to be a buzz kill, but as summer starts to come to a close, all those fresh veggies we love — tomatoes, cukes, peppers, etc. — will shortly be making a grand exit. Yes, you'll still find them (though less flavorful and fresh) all year long in the supermarket, but if you're down for expanding your palette and giving seasonal eating a try, it's time to get acquainted with root vegetables. And we're not talk about your everyday potato. There are so many other roots out there just waiting to be discovered.

Root vegetables are available year-round, but fall through spring are when they're truly at their peak. If you're worried that going roots-only in the cooler months means skipping out on some much-needed nutrients, think again. Roots are some of the most nutrient-dense foods out there and they're jam-packed with the same vitamins and minerals found in your standard veggie-repertoire (think: antioxidants, iron and vitamins A, B and C).

When choosing roots from your local farmers' market or grocery store, the harder the better. Look for ones free of bruises and gashes and if buying roots with greens, opt for ones with sturdy, vibrant leaves.


Daikon

A member of the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts and turnips, daikon is a large, white radish with a crisp white flesh and sweet, yet spicy flavor. It's extremely versatile and features frequently in various Asian cuisines and is a banh mi staple. From roasting to braising and pickling, almost anything goes. They also make a delicious addition to salads, soups and stir-fry.

Kohlrabi

Don't let this root's extra-terrestrial appearance put you off, what lies beneath that thick skin is a crisp flesh with a slightly spicy flavor, similar to that of a radish. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw, both added to salads or on its own with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, but the root really shines with a little heat. Mixed into soups, whipped up into puree, roasted or even steamed, it makes delicious and unexpected side dish.

Celeriac

Celeriac is a variety of celery cultivated for its roots. While extremely ugly, the knotty root packs much more oomph than its sleek green cousin and way more versatility. It has a fresh, nutty and sweet taste with a hint of celery flavor and a potato-like texture, which makes for tasty soups, purees and salads.

Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichoke)

Nutty and sweet in flavor, sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, lend themselves to decadent soups and purees. Mashed, they'll make you rethink the standard spuds-based version (they're that good) and blanched and roasted or twice-baked, they make a mean side dish to any main.

Rutabaga

You've no doubt heard of rutabaga, but chances are it's never made its way onto your plate. A cross between cabbage and turnips, this large root has a subtle, slightly peppery, earthy flavor and is packed with beta carotene and vitamin A. Rutabaga tastes best when roasted or pureed, developing a rich, balance of savory and sweet. It also makes a great addition to soup and can even be eaten raw in salads.

Yuca Root (Cassava)

A long, starchy potato-like vegetable, yuca is commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. It's taste mimics that of a potato with a subtle, sweet flavor. Like many of the other root vegetables described above, it is very versatile and can be grilled, fried, roasted, boiled, baked, steamed and mashed. Yuca contains Prussic acid, which can can cause cyanide poisoning, but proper cooking removes the poison. Yuca can never be eaten raw.


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