Roots: The winter pantry superstar

Roots instead of grains

In the effort to eat less grain, we have been eating root vegetables with our meals; as many different varieties as we can find. (We are on a temporary elimination diet–more on that later and how it’s helped with our quest for food diversity.) I am looking forward to exploring some specialty stores and farm markets to see what is available besides the standard grocery store fare. It is amazing how many root vegetables are available when you start looking.

carrots and purple daikon -- Root vegetables
Purple daikon and carrots

Roots in our current pantry

So far, horseradish; onions; red and golden beets; various colors of carrots; russet and red potatoes; orange and white flesh sweet potatoes; parsnips; red radishes; garlic; malanga; ginger; and tumeric have found their way to our table. We have eaten rutabaga and celeriac too. And, just today, I picked up some purple daikon and some black winter radishes.

Garlic and horseradish -- Root vegetables
Garlic and horseradish

Roots to pursue

Following is a list of some additional edible roots that we are planning to eat. Look for the recipes and posts about some of these roots in the days to come.

Wild edible roots

Spring beauty; Cattail; Ramps; Arrowhead (duck potato/wapato); Dandelion; Chicory; Burdock; Goatsbeard; Mallow root; Calamus; Day lily root; Thistle root; Indian breadroot (prarie turnip); Ground nut; Dahlia (yes, the roots are edible and supposed to taste like sweet potato if the right variety)

beets -- root vegetables
Golden beet surrounded by red beets
Garden vegetable roots

Salsify; Burdock; Scorzonera; Turnips; Sunchokes; Parsley root; Leeks; Skirret; Jicama; Shallots;

Black winter radish -- root vegetables
Black winter radish
Exotic roots (to us)

Taro root; Yacon; Cassava; Purple sweet potatoes; Lotus root; Chinese yam, Oca, Water chestnut; Arracacha; Eddoe; Arrowroot

Turnips with parsnips

And a quick glance in one garden catalog shows 15 different beets, 20 carrots, 32 onions, 17 potatoes, 17 radishes, 5 turnips, and at least 6 sweet potatoes. While I can’t grow all of them, the garden and farm market is going to be fun this year.

sweet potato with turnips --root vegetables
Sweet potato

Three cheers for root vegetables! They are the superstar of the winter pantry, especially for the grain free eater.

Fruit and Root

Following is one of our Fruits and Roots recipes. Cooking the spicier roots with a little fruit tames the heat and adds a little sweetness to the crunch. We’ve tried radishes with blueberries that turned out really well. But this recipe, with a sweeter root brings to mind french toast and might go well with honey or maple syrup, dashed with cinnamon.

Wild raspberries and blueberries mixed with parsnips
Fruit and Root
Fruit and Root: Parsnips with wild berries Recipe

Sweet parsnip roots cooked up with slightly tart wild bramble berries makes one of our favorite Fruit and Root Recipes. Sweet enough to be dessert, especially with some honey and cinnamon.

  • 2 Large Parsnips Sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 cups wild raspberries and wild blackberries fresh or frozen is fine
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • honey, cinnamon, nutmeg optional, as desired
  1. Cook parsnips and coconut oil in medium size frying pan until parsnips are tender throughout. Stir frequently to prevent burning. About 5-8 minutes.

  2. Add berries to parsnips. Stir to mix and cook with lid on for another 5 minutes to allow for berries to soften and to blend flavors.

  3. Add honey, cinnamon, or nutmeg for extra flavors as desired

Recipe Notes

All of our Fruit and Root Recipes are adaptable to a vegan oil free diet. Instead of cooking in a frying pan with coconut oil, the parsnips and berries can be placed in a baking dish with a lid and cooked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. I will usually add a little water  when I bake this to be sure to help the parsnips steam nicely. 

Let us know in the comments if you have any root recipes or root suggestions to share. You can find all our root recipes here.

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