Living in the Netherlands, there aren’t unlimited vegetable options during the winter months. However, we can’t really complain: we still do have plenty of root veggies.
They may look odd, and you don’t always have an idea what to do with them. But once you’ve learned how to appreciate them, they make great soups & stews, as well as healthy chips or baked fries!
■ Taste: halfway between carrot and celeriac, not very pronounced.
■ Nutrition facts per 100 g: 75 kcal, 18 g carbs, 4.8 g sugar, 1.2 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 4.9 g fiber. Similar to carrots, but without vitamin A, and a bit higher in carbs.
■ How to use: Just like carrots: raw, grated, roasted, mashed, in soups, in chips…
■ Pros: can replace carrots in every carrot recipes, even in carrot cakes, for an interesting new twist on an old recipe.
■ Cons: Nutritionally speaking, parsnip looks like a poor cousin of the carrot. It’s basically a carrot, but without vitamin A.
■ Taste: a bitter taste of turnip but less acid, with a touch of cabbage.
■ Nutrition facts per 100 g: 38 kcal, 9 g carbs, 4.5 g sugar, 1.1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.3 g fiber. Similar to turnip but denser in calories and higher in fiber.
■ How to use: mashed or au gratin, with nutmeg. In soups in place of turnips. As owen-baked fries. Can also be bought in cans.
■ Pros: big, cheap, economical.
■ Cons: taste a little bitter. You can’t expect Rutabaga owen-baked fries to taste entirely like potato fries!
■ Taste: close to turnip but less acid and less bitter.
■ Nutrition facts per 100 g: 82 kcal, 19 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 3.3 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 3.3 g fiber.
■ How to use: Like other root vegetables, various possibilities (soups, roasted etc.) I like to make a kind of noodles by peeling them into tagliatelles, cooking them in a pan with some olive oil.
■ Pros: finer, more delicate than turnips when it comes to taste.
■ Cons: larger specimens tend to be too fibrous. You have to peel their black skin even if they’re organic. It’s impossible to remove the soil that sticks on their skin without peeling them.
■ Taste: subtle taste, similar to artichokes.
■ Nutrition facts per 100 g: 73 kcal, 17 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 2 g protein, 0 g fat, 1.6 g fiber. Rich in carbs and sugar, but the tubers store the carbohydrate inulin instead of starch. This nondigestible carbohydrate does not affect blood sugar, unlike starch. However the body cannot digest it, which can cause flatulence ;)
■ How to use: pureed, au gratin. Also raw in salad. Delicious sliced thinly to make oven-baked chips.
■ Pros: very subtle taste. Reasonable price. Very rustic plant, easy to grow, even in the poorest soils.
■ Cons: The inulin cannot be broken down by the human digestive system, which can cause flatulence. The ‘product design’ looks a bit like “dog poop”, but we can not really blame the designer (Mother Nature).